Why Trump Is a Disaster: North Korea and US Alliances

Zamfir: I’m surprised you have a strong preference for Democrats over Republicans. To me it seems like a hopeless choice. If you vote Republican you’re voting for one set of evil elite interests, but not explicitly against your biology and cultural heritage; if you vote Republican you’re voting for another set of evil elite interests, and explicitly against your biology and cultural heritage.
Hard to pick between those two! What is the real advantage in voting Democrat in your opinion? (I guess I’d vote for Bernie, but then again I’d vote for Trump for similar reasons… Not that I expect either one would ever do much on anything I care about.)

Trump threatened to attack North Korea, a country with nuclear weapons! You cannot attack countries with nuclear weapons. They will use their nukes. They are unattackable.
Trump has starvation sanctions on North Korea. Trump is building tactical nuclear weapons that are supposedly “battlefield nukes.” The idea of this is to have nuclear weapons that are “minor” enough to use in a war. They are lesser weapons, but they are still as potent as the Hiroshima weapon. The dead truth is that Trump is readying us for nuclear war. These weapons are probably to use in a war against North Korea.
Trump’s blowing up all our alliances, and I actually support that, but not for the reasons he does. I support it because I hate most of our allies like the NATO countries, Canada, etc. You can’t blow up our alliances soon enough to please me. I don’t think Trump has any reasons for blowing up these alliances. He is probably just doing it out of incompetence. Trump’s simply the most incompetent president in history.

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.

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.

"Iran: Socialism’s Ignored Success Story," by Ramin Mazaheri

Iran: Socialism’s Ignored Success Story

May 23, 2017

by Ramin Mazaheri

Iran just completed their presidential election, but this article will not discuss the candidates, the result or the political consequences.
I work for Iran’s Press TV, which essentially makes me a civil servant, and I think it is correct for me to not reveal who I voted for in order to preserve my independence within the government. I’m quite happy to work for “the people” instead of “a person” – as in private media – and I will support which ever candidate the people choose.
Why will I support Iran’s government, whoever is in charge? Truly, it is not for my paycheck.
I support Iran because I support socialism where ever I can find it, and Iran has socialism in abundance.
Iranian Socialism has been so successful at redistributing wealth to the average person; has safeguarded the nation’s security despite being ringed by US military bases and repeated threats; has grown the economy despite an international blockade; has produced a foreign policy motivated on political principles; and has fought against the divisive identity politics which undermine human solidarity.
I have actually seen Iran over the decades, unlike 99% of the journalists who claim to understand Iran, so you can’t dissuade me.
And I’m not even going to try to persuade you. This is not that article, either.
This article is to lay out for left-wing readers and supporters of socialism what should be crystal clear: Iran is a socialist nation. Even more than that: Iran is a socialist success story.
Iran, like all nations, has had its unique developmental history; of course we have been reading Marx just as long as anyone else, as well.
But the most convincing and simplest way I can put it to non-Iranians is this: Europe came to socialism through industrialization, theory and war, but Iran came to socialism through its religious and moral beliefs. The ends are the same, and that is all that should matter to anyone who is truly trying to promote socialism for the benefits it brings to the average person.

The Problem Is Not Us, It Is You

I repeat: The problem is not us, it is you…when it comes to looking at Iran’s contributions to socialism.
I believe that around 99% of Westerners have no idea at all what Iran is really like. Unfortunately, this total ignorance about Iran and the Muslim world is the historical norm in the West.
The greatest contribution of Middle East scholar Edward Said was that his book, “Orientalism”, definitively proved through historical scholarship that the West has never, ever, ever been favorable towards the Muslim world.
Not in the 8th century, when Muslims were occupiers of the Iberian Peninsula, not in the following centuries when Islam was an ideological competitor to Christianity; not in the 15th century, when the Ottoman Empire occupied the Balkans; not in the 19th century, when the Europeans occupied the Middle East & North Africa; not in 1916, when they redrew the borders for the West’s benefit; not in 1945, when they bombed countries like Syria which had fought on their side against the Germans and the Italians; not in the 1960’s, when their reaction to independence was neocolonialism; not in 1979, when they created the forerunner of the Taliban; not during 2 wars in Iraq, a war in Syria today, etc.
Said’s point was: Never has the West viewed or treated the Muslim world as equals, much less intellectual equals.
Given this history, why should us Iranians expect the reality of our high-achieving modernity to be accepted and admired?
LOL, believe me, I am over it! I write this to enlighten you, not me! I humbly hope that it works.
I will address the elephant in the room, and quickly: Yes, I assume that a large part of this prejudice is religious. Some Christians cannot accept that Islam promotes the most recent prophet of the monotheism which they both share.
Such religious prejudices are not my problem, and they do not blind my analysis of 2017 Iran.
No socialist believes in a “clash of civilizations” or “religious war”, anyway.
My point is not to criticize Europe for a lack of brotherhood with their fellow Abrahamic religion: My point is to criticize them in 2017 because most Westerners believe that that even the most leftist Iranian cannot even qualify as merely a “conservative social democrat”!

Can There Never Be a Muslim “Democrat” or an Iranian “Republican”?

The proof of this bias is the decades of Western support for the oppression of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Iranian Revolution and any Muslim attempt to allow their religion into their politics. This is even though Christian Democratic parties governed Europe for decades after WWII, and it is absurd to think that the Christian dogma is not upheld and promoted in European politics today.
So, if Iranians cannot even be allowed to fulfill 19th century notions, why would the West accept that 2017 Iran can be even more truly leftist than the merely centrist ideology of European social democracy?
Of course, the average European cannot accept this, and this is why Western Socialists are aghast at my idea that Iran is an “ignored Socialist success story”.
The radical left of European Socialism, which seeks to destroy organized religion, is especially aghast, but they are a tiny minority and on the way out, thankfully. They do not realize that they have already been drastically tempered, if not ousted, in the still-Socialist countries they purportedly admire: Cuba is full of Santeria and Pope pictures, yin-yangy Confucianism is being promoted in China, etc.
But these Western radicals are a minority who simply cannot accept that spirituality cannot be rubbed out, largely because they see it as a choice or a social conditioning instead of a part of many people’s intrinsic nature (if not theirs). A modern Socialist must accept that this fight has already been fought and decided. The capitalists certainly advance as we chase our tails….
Even if leftist detractors can get past religion, they immediately will talk about Iran’s human rights faults.
I respond: Yawn yawn yawn African-Americans fill US jails; Muslims fill France’s jails; this is the centenary of the British-orchestrated Persian Famine, which killed 8-10 million people and actually made Iran the biggest victim of WWI, that is just one Western/capitalist inspired famine/death/human rights violation yawn yawn yawn.
I am not here to say Iran is perfect – only God can be – I am saying that Iran is absolutely no worse than the West. It is an undeniable fact that the current Islamic Republic of Iran has far less blood on its hands than most – and Iran has not invaded a country in 300 years!
Religion, human rights – these are all classic diversions from the facts presented against socialist societies, and Iran certainly is one.

Iran Checks All the Boxes as a Socialist Nation and as Revolutionary Socialist

What are the key components of socialism? Let’s clarify our terms.
The first is leadership by an avant-garde party committed to defending the revolution: Iran certainly has this, and it crosses over Principlist/Reformist party lines.
The second is central planning of the economy: Whoever had won, they would be largely implementing the 6th Five-year plan (2016-2021). And there is also the “Resistance Economy” approach promoted by many, which is certainly anti-globalization.
The third is control over the media: This is mixed – I would say Iran does not really have this in the traditionally Socialist sense. Cuba has no private media, for example, while Iran has dozens of private newspapers and innumerable TV satellites. But Iran does have limitations, so let’s check this box.
The fourth is support for foreign liberation movements: When the history of Palestinian liberation is finally written, just as a now-free South Africa thanks Cuba for sending troops to Angola, will not Palestinians do the same for Iran’s decades of support? The same with Lebanon and now Syria, correct?
The fifth is democratically devolving as much democracy as possible in order to empower the average person: There is no doubt that Iran is the most vibrant democracy in the Middle East, and by a huge margin. The difference between Iran’s social-democratic procedures and guarantees in 2017 when compared with 1978 is obviously laughable. I write this from Paris, a nation in an 18-month state of emergency with no end in sight….
If your country has these five crucial components: Congratulations! You are in a socialist country!
A little bit more on each for the naysayers….

An Avant-Garde Party

Iran is a one-party system – that party defends the 1979 Revolution. China is a one-party system – promoting Chinese communism. Many would say that the US is a one-party system – promoting imperialist capitalism.
The difference between Iran & China and the US is that in the former their one-party systems are formalized, explicit and well-known; in the US it is informal, but just as strong, and maybe even stronger.
I don’t think this needs much further explanation but, for example, you cannot propose to end the Iranian Revolution and run for office. In France a presidential candidate in their recent election (Jean-Luc Melenchon) won 20% of the first-round vote by proposing to abolish France’s current 5th Republic.
Like all socialist countries, Iran is criticized for not having democracy but they do: it is simply within their own particular structure. Just as in the USSR, there was lively debate about how to advance their own system – should we following the right-wing model of socialism of Bukharin/Khrushchev or the left-wing model socialism of Lenin/Trotsky? – but there was no debate about deviating from their chosen national system, i.e. communism. When they did allow such debates under Gorbachev, Soviet Socialism was almost immediately subverted by capitalist reactionaries and consigned to oblivion.
Again, please examine the repression of communism in the US, South Korea, Greece, Italy, Chile, etc. for historical examples of capitalist “one-party systems”, which are definitely NOT avant-garde and promoting socialism….
The idea that Iran has no avant-garde party but is some sort of totalitarian structure governed by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is only expressed by those who are supremely ignorant about Iran. For the second presidential election in a row Hassan Rouhani won despite not seeming to be Khamenei’s preferred candidate, after all.

Central Planning of the Economy

I think I can illustrate Iran’s state of economic socialism with this anecdote: Back in 2013 all 8 presidential candidates were pushing for more privatization…not to promote capitalism, but because everything has already been nationalized for so long, LOL!
So Iran has already done the nationalizing, and maybe they need to do more? However, socialist countries have increasingly agreed that some revenue-producing businesses are needed to meet some of the basic needs of their people: North Korea has the Kaesong Industrial area, Cuba’s Port Mariel is giving some space to completely foreign-owned businesses, Vietnam and China have plenty of state-run capitalist enterprises, etc. The reality is that even producing things as simple as soap need some expertise, and very often only capitalist corporations can have that expertise.
That’s why the Iranian government went on a spending spree in 2016, but it was decidedly not your typical capitalism. (I do not want to appear to credit only the Rouhani administration because economic policy is produced by the entire government in 5-year development plans, as already noted.)
Iran was feted like a king in places like France and Italy because they were prepared to spend dozens of billions of euros. But what pleased me was how Iran spent: They demanded equal partnerships, joint ventures and technology transfers.
These are the ways in which foreign investment can be mutually beneficial and not exploitative – this was good for France too. I am not a dogmatic person who is absolutely against all capitalism, but I am against all exploitative capitalism.
My point is: It was a socialist spending spree, not a capitalist one. Iran did not just give money away; they did not waste money on vanity projects; this was not one billionaire dealing with another for their own benefit; they invested in Iran via long-term central planning, i.e. the socialist view of economic management.
This is not like France’s ruling “Socialist Party” recently selling off national industrial jewel Alstom to the United States’ General Electric: The French people got nothing for that. That was capitalism; that was globalization
Iran is not in favor of globalization – they are not even a member of the World Trade Organization, unlike 164 other countries. Some will say this is solely due to the opposition of the United States, but it is not: As many in Iran said during the election: membership in the WTO is against Iran’s principles…and these are socialist principles regarding the economy – there is nothing about the WTO in the Koran.

Control over the Media

It’s true you can’t have Charlie Hebdo in Iran – hardly a major loss –but Iran is certainly no Cuba.
Iran’s refusal to crack down on TV satellites which permit reactionary, anti-revolutionary channels like BBC Persian and VOA Persian (UK and US government-funded respectively) appears to be a dangerous fire which Havana will not tolerate. This tolerance does give Iran “human rights” credibility with the West – well it doesn’t, but it should!
I would suggest that Iran is simply confident that foreign propaganda cannot overwhelm the obvious successes of the 1979 Revolution. I imagine that Cuba feels that they cannot take chances, being just 100 kilometers from the USA.
Of course, Cubans simply laugh at Western propaganda channels like the US government’s pathetic Radio Marti. Cubans are supremely intelligent politically and, after all, their education programs are decades older than Iran’s.
Iran, like Cuba and China, bans pornography. I note that such respect for sexuality and for women is a very basic tenet of Socialism. If your utopia includes unfettered access to porn I suggest that you are a libertarian, and not a socialist.
I remind again that the media glasnost implemented by Gorbachev was a major driver in the catastrophic implosion of the Russian Revolution. To privatize media means, necessarily, that you are giving those few people rich enough to actually start newspapers the chance to promote their obviously capitalist worldviews.
I, for one, am not about to cry over the lack of published capitalist, imperialist, sexist, racist, regressive anti-revolutionary nonsense, and neither are most Iranians. As sad as the Dutch may be about it – Iran is not Amsterdam!

Support of Foreign Liberation Movements

Some will say that Palestine is just a “distraction” from Iran’s own problems. Nonsense – this is a point of pride to all Iranians. This is a point of admiration for Iran from the entire Muslim world, just as it is a negative point for much of the Western world.
This is another way Iran is revolutionary Socialist country: they support oppressed countries on the basis of ideology. Perhaps Iran is not the “Mecca of Revolutionaries” which Algeria was in the 1960’s, but let’s agree that the rate and scope of revolutionary movements worldwide are at a much lower level today, sadly.
Russia may support Syria, for example, but it appears more for Moscow’s self-interest and the idea of national sovereignty – which is the idea of national self-interest – rather than a moral-based ideology.
Call Iran the same as Russia – no insult there – but you cannot deny that Iran supports Palestine for reasons which are clearly to the detriment of their own success, i.e., they do it out of solidarity and morality. Were Iran to recognize Israel they would surely have the international dogs called off them…but Iran is a revolutionary Socialist society, as you are hopefully agreeing with by now.
Iran is also an anti-racist society, like all modern socialist societies.
They constitutionally protect minorities, with parliamentary seats for Armenians, Assyrians, Christians and Jews, despite their small numbers. Iran may not promote them, but their tolerance of local languages like Azeri and Kurdish far exceeds that of many minorities in Western Europe. Iran accommodates the 5th-largest number of refugees in the world, while French authorities put up gates and even ‘’anti-migrant boulders’’ to deny refugees even the barest shelter.
When it comes to religion they are extremely tolerant of ancient Iranian Zoroastrianism and all of the pre-Prophet Muhammad Abrahamic religions. Any religion after Prophet Muhammad? Well…it is an “Islamic” Revolution, after all.
This is perhaps a pedantic point but an important one on a verbal, Foucauldian level: Has there been any “revolution” in the world since WWI which was not “socialist”? I can’t think of any, because without a socialism component it cannot be a revolution – it can only be a continuation of the capitalist/feudalist/bourgeois status quo, or a military coup.

Empowering People

The two fundamental tenets of socialism are redistribution of wealth and empowering the average person so that they can reach their full potential. Dismantling the social roadblocks thrown up by capitalism against the non-wealthy has clearly been a major goal of the Islamic Revolution, and I can quite easily prove it has been achieved with a tremendous amount of real-world success.
Since 1990 – when the West’s attack dog of Iraq was beaten off – no country’s Human Development Index has improved more than Iran’s, with the lone exception of South Korea.
Everyone should take notice, especially Socialists, as it is we anti-capitalists who prize human development – not economic development – above all.
That’s why I’m going to leave the Human Development Index as the only proof of success. For me, I have so many other econometrics, anecdotes and personal reflections to prove that Iran has succeeded in creating a new, better, modern society that to do so is quite boring.
Bottom line: It is obvious that I do not have to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Despite the tremendous amount of opposition, violence and propaganda, Iran has advanced the most in the past 3+ decades.
I say “the most” because, unlike South Korea, Iran has done this without 30,000 US troops currently on its soil; it was not preceded by decades of brutal dictatorship which slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people (mainly leftists); and they did not collaborate with the Americans in the division of their nation which currently causes the greatest possibility of thermonuclear war.
Iran didn’t get to #1 as many others did: by capitalism and imperialism.
Iran’s recent election had a 73% voter turnout rate, ranking it #12 in the world. Unlike many of these other 11 countries, Iran does not compel citizens to vote. There is obviously tremendous support for the Iranian system from the Iranian people because…they are not blind to success, I would say!
The hardest thing to get people to do when it comes to socialism (or Iran) is to think realistically: Nobody can achieve “perfect” socialism. No country has 100% voter turnout. No country has zero human rights violations.
But for Iran you have add on another layer of misconception: Many of the “restrictions” in Iranian society predate 1979 by centuries: women were largely wearing the hejab before then; unmarried people, especially young women, also lived at home before 1979; alcohol could send you to prison then and now.
My point is: Iran is a culturally conservative nation, and it was like that long, long before 1979. You will have to simply trust me that Iranians don’t need a government to make them want to live in a society which appears conservative to modern Western standards.
Again, Iran is not Amsterdam, LOL! Maybe you can talk about the royal court in Shiraz in the 14th century as being a hotbed of drunken poetic reveling, but this is does not reflect the reality of life for the average person.
Only an Iranian will agree quickly with this statement and move on: Take away the 1979 Revolution and you would still have many of the same rules in place – they would just be enforced informally.
I will, lastly, put it this way: Take away the mullahs, and you still have to deal with my grandmother!!!!!
But to believe that the government has not empowered people since 1979…well, back then the average woman had 7 children, was illiterate 70% of the time, and the UN was not calling its health care system “excellent”.
Today, the birthrate is 1.7 children per woman, the overall literacy rate is 93% and the right-wing Washington DC-based think-tank the Brookings Institution runs dumbfounded articles with headlines like “Are Iranian Women Overeducated?”.
All in 30+ years…and have you thought it was capitalism that did it?!

Socialists Who Ignore Iran Are Not Really Socialists At All

Do you still want to think that Iran is a country solely motivated by religious radicalism and not the ideals of socialism? Well, then I place you on the right and the left, and that is the point of this article.
It is bad enough that the right (capitalists, imperialists) not only co-opt Socialist ideas as their own (social security, Medicare, Medicaid, affirmative action programs, welfare, free schooling, free nurseries, etc.), but it is laughable when the left refuses to see the leftism in Iran because it does not fit with their preconceived, totally inflexible notions.
Any true Socialist/Communist should realize that attacking Iran is doing a capitalist’s job for them.
And how can someone who proclaims to be a “leftist” have the exact same interpretation of Iran as a right-wing capitalist does?
Again, it is simply laughable that Iran is “not” what it really is.
But this is what always happens: Chinese communism “is not really communism”…despite having 1-party rule, a state-run economy, control over the media, support for Vietnam and North Korea, and the 2nd highest HDI improvement from 1970-2010.
North Korean communism is just a “cult of personality”…despite expelling the Japanese, resisting the Americans, maintaining their independence, security and high-level of education. Cuba is just the Castro dictatorship and, again, not communism.
This is all anti-socialist propaganda – for capitalism there can never be ANY “Socialist success story”.
You remain adamant that you do not want to implement all the principles of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in your country?
Fine, it is your country to decide for as you like. Like I wrote, no worries – Iran hasn’t invaded in 300 years and it sure seems like our military is necessarily focused on defense.
But just because you disagree with some aspects of the 1979 Revolution I encourage you not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I remind you that I needed only one fact to prove that Iran has been improving at a rate which is essentially the best in the world over the last 3 decades – how far below Iran does your country rank, hmm?
I write this article because practically no media in the English language will ever pursue the links between Iran and socialism. We leftists know this not just anti-Iran bias, but a much larger anti-Socialist bias.
However, it is truly suicidal to ignore the left-wing successes in Iran because, even if you reject some of them, Iran has clearly found MANY modern solutions to our MANY modern problems: surely some of them can be of use to you, right? Is Iran ALL wrong?
Of course not – only Satan can be all wrong.
Therefore, I advise those fighting against capitalism and imperialism: Please afford Iran a bit more respect and interest than you would afford Satan!

And Now I Take Our Victory lap

I can only laugh at those who say Iran’s revolution has failed!
“Oh really? Who was the puppet that was installed? Who was the king that was restored? What is the name of the popular democratic revolution which replaced the peoples’ one of 1979, because I have not heard of it and I still see many familiar faces from 1979?”
The revolution has succeeded, and I am not sorry to say so.
Not that I care about your opinion – this is for YOUR own benefit: YOU will not win socialism, anti-capitalism or anti-imperialism in your country if you cannot learn from the successes of others.
But sadly, your inability to recognize socialism in Iran imperils all of us, because the people worldwide cannot win in the long term if even like-minded leftists cannot stick together to work against fascism, capitalism and racism.
But Iran, Cuba, China, etc. – we can win enough of these things for ourselves, at least.
We are doing just fine – steady as she goes, eh? All thanks to central planning, as the capitalists veer from crisis to crisis, with the 1% sucking up a greater percentage every time. Our election had huge participation rates, as usual, dwarfing the European cultures who probably want to claim they invented voting, along with everything else. Asia has heard it all before….
For the non-Western readers: I know that the vast majority of you already support Iran. I have talked with too many of you over my life – I know better. I also know that for us “field slaves” we have to give that impression in order to survive, sometimes, or at least to avoid annoyances.
Anyway, many Westerners appear to misunderstand Socialism completely: they don’t realize it is intrinsically a global idea; they think the Franco-German-Russian (European) variety is the only one. More Eurocentrism blinding them to reality, and necessarily limiting them….
But I look across the West and I see nothing but leftist failure after leftist failure: The fall of communism in Russia, the breakup of Yugoslavia, the obvious absorption of “left” parties into the dominant right-wing parties, the rise of austerity, the advance of globalization at the expense of national interests….
So the next time you look at Iran, you should applaud it as a rare socialist success. Iranians will certainly keep living their path of creating modern socialism, Inshallah.
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

North Korean Update

EPGAH: What was that bit about North Korea? They invaded South Korea, they massacred and kidnapped South Koreans, and in general, they deserved to be reduced to rubble and cowering.
If it hadn’t been for China’s interference–who didn’t want a thriving democracy at their border, rather than a country who would rather be illegal immigrant slaves than starve in their own country–there wouldn’t be a North Korea anymore, just a unified thriving Korea.
Why does North Korea get a pass, and why is there deafening silence over all the bad guys Russia and China became butt buddies with (And still are, like Kim Jong) and/or gave guns&bombs to?

Your average North Korean really hates the US and regards us as a deadly enemy and that first paragraph would be exhibit #1 for that attitude. I would not get your hopes up about a US invasion of North Korea being an easy win.
I do not know if it is fair to say that North Korea attacked South Korea. They had been attacking each other back and forth across the line for some time. Who started that back and forth is the subject of a good debate. The best evidence shows that the “North Korean invasion” that started the war was actually a case of two large armies attacking each other at about the same time. It is true that the North overran much of the South though.
Nobody is actually starving in North Korea anymore is how I see it. If you go there, you won’t see any starving people. Most people will look pretty well fed. But you might see a few middle aged men who seem far too thin for their age. That may be due to what they went through in the past. If you go to the rural areas, there are trucks full of smiling field workers everywhere, people pushing carts or with horses on all the roads and the fields full of happy workers. The rural villages look very respectable by 3rd World standards. If you go at harvest season, you will see fields full of harvested crops, in particular corn.
There are day care centers in many places that are open 24 hours a day so workers working any shift can drop their kids off.
North Korean industry is better than you might think. They have made a knockoff of a Mercedes Benz that looks and reportedly drives almost exactly like the real thing. I doubt if many could afford one though. Workers in factories are treated very well, much better than their counterparts in most capitalist countries.
The cities are full of workers too. Everywhere you go in Pyongyang, you see men working on the streets or on construction. You also see truckloads of working men going to wherever. They’re definitely pretty busy in North Korea.
The nights are a bit weird as they are short on electricity due to the oil problem. You will see tall buildings everywhere in Pyongyang at night with most of the lights out. The streets are not well lit up either. Nevertheless, there are some people out and about often, especially teenagers and young people, including girls and young women. They don’t seem to be worried about the lack of lighting. You even see people with their stands out selling things at night in the poorly-lighted streets. There are lone women out there manning their street stands on very dark streets after dark. They don’t seem to be worried about crime. I would gather based on the behavior of people out in these poorly lit streets that the crime rate must be awfully low.
And you will see people chatting and texting away on cellphones everywhere you go in Pyongyang. There’s an Internet, but it is mostly a North Korean intranet. Smuggled in South Korean soap opera tapes are very popular and many people watch them. Not much is done about this. Things are loosening up so much that they are having a mini-STD epidemic because so many married women are now having affairs. No one much cares about that either.
The price of oil went up 10X overnight with the fall of the USSR. I ask you how would the US fare if the price of gasoline suddenly went from 2.50 to 25.00? You think everything would be just fine. As a result of that, the heavily mechanized agriculture in the rural areas nearly came to a halt and many factories simply shut down and were not able to function anymore. That’s one reason that they wanted those nuclear power plants.
In the far north, there is a lot of gold mining going on, mostly illegally due to new finds of gold. I think a lot of it is hydraulic mining. The situation is pretty out of control and the state can’t get a handle on the mining. So instead they are just letting any North Korean who wants to go up there and mine gold, however, the state very much wants a hefty portion of your proceeds in tax. Still, gold miners are quite happy to keep at it as even with the tax, you make a lot more mining gold than being an ordinary worker.
They are allowing some business, and they even have a few rich people now. A few people have a net worth of over $100,000 in North Korea now, which qualifies as very rich. This was unheard of before.
The border in the north is actually somewhat open. They catch people going across all the time but not much is done to them as so many people are doing it. Guards on both sides of the border are easily bribed and it is not extremely difficult to get across other than some large rivers that are in the way. There is even a fair amount of cross-border traffic going on, as many North Koreans who cross the border to China do not stay in China but instead travel back and forth periodically.
Considering that North Korea is probably the most sanctioned country on Earth (quote from George Bush) with new sanctions being put on all the time, it is amazing that they economy even runs at all. They are locked out of the vast majority of the world’s banking system via SWIFT bans and although they are very rich in minerals, they are unable to export nearly all of their minerals. Their only real trade is with China. They do a lot of illegal arms trading though as it is one of the only ways they can make money.
Of course the treatment of dissidents is utterly appalling.

What Would Happen in a US Invasion of North Korea?

Otherwise known as the We Can Kick North Korea’s Ass in a Day or Two bullshit.
I would not get your hopes up about invading North Korea. I hear their equipment is better than you think and furthermore they have four million many under arms, with many of the rest in citizen militias. The army is well fed and well trained. North Korea has been preparing for an invasion for decades and it seems like half the military infrastructure is underground.
There is a huge arsenal of artillery pointed at South Korea and if we ever attack them for any reason, they will turn those guns on and the first fifty miles south of the DMZ will be pretty much leveled faster than you can blink your eyes. The artillery is not that easy to take out and as most it is actually underground in tunnels in mountains. the artillery actually pops out of the tunnels in the sides of the mountains, fires away and then retreats back into the tunnel while the tunnel closes behind it.
If we do invade with a ground army, I would worry about that too. North Koreans are some of the most brainwashed people on Earth and most of them have a fanatical hatred of the US. I am convinced that much of the army and even a lot of the militia would fight to the death. It would be very, very ugly and we might lose a lot of men. I have seen estimates of up to US 30,000 dead from an invasion of North Korea.
The war might go nuclear pretty fast not because the North Koreans would shoot nukes but more because we might. Contrary to popular MSM lie, North Korea does not have a usable nuclear weapon.

The North Korea Has a Nuclear Bomb Bullshit

People do not understand how nukes work.
First of all, just because you can test a bomb underground does not mean that you really have a nuke, although I think it does mean that you have finally figured out the triggering mechanism, which is so devilishly hard that many nations have never been able to master it. You have to get the triggering down to the 1000th of a second and there are a million things that can wrong.
North Korea has also not been able to fit a nuke onto a warhead and put that warhead on a missile that will work when you fire it. A lot of their missiles don’t even work, so their missile tech is not that good either. It is extremely hard to make a nuclear capable missile and many nations just gave up after trying a while.
Once you finally get a working missile, now you need to somehow fit that bomb into a warhead. Have you seen the size of the Little Boy bomb we dropped on Japan? Try sticking that on a rocket. This is also devilishly hard. North Korea has been trying for years to make a nuke into a warhead and will launch with a capable missile, but they have not yet been successful. This also is devilishly hard and many nations once again gave up after trying for a while.
Nuclear tech is not even really exportable. Yes, Progressive magazine ran an article called How to Make a Nuclear Bomb, but so what? Now go make one. I dare ya. The tech is fiendishly difficult and most of the material is certainly not in the public domain. The necessary tech that other nations used can be acquired, but it is very hard to find and especially to copy. Saddam’s regime had a very hard time acquiring manuals for their program.
You also need rocket scientists and nuclear physicists. They don’t grow on trees. Really no nation can become a nuclear power without building up a pretty significant military, industrial and educational infrastructure.
Oh and one more thing. There’s no such thing as a suitcase nuke. That’s just some lie a bunch of media whores made up so they can scare you more and get more viewers.

The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.
First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?
Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.
Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?
The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.
It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?
There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.
Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.
In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.
1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.
So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.
The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.
Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.
The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.
Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.
I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.
But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.
And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.
And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.
One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.
Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

Democratic Party Liberals Are Militarists

And they always have been.
Their current incarnation in the US is in the form of “The Cruise Missile Left” and “The Humanitarian Bomber Left”.
They are the ones who ramped up the Vietnam War and expanded it to its greatest extent. Let us look at the record of the two first post-WW2 Democratic Presidents and their incredible militarism and very rightwing foreign policy.
Democratic Party liberals did the following things:
Under Democratic Party liberal Harry Truman:

  • Engaged in a massive campaign to hide and secrete away Nazis after World War 2 so the CIA could use them to fight Communism.
  • Installed military rule in Japan. The first act of the military government was outlaw all labor unions.
  • Overthrew the democratic government of Greece with a rightwing monarchist coup and then helped the new Greek fascist government as they murdered 12,000 Greek Communists and threw another 40,000 in prison, thus starting the Greek Civil War.
  • Supported the Neo-Nazi Ukrainian nationalist UNO as it waged its anti-Soviet guerrilla campaign in the Ukraine.
  • Supported and assisted the South Korean government while they murdered 200,000 South Koreans in the face of a Communist insurgency from 1945-1950.
  • Destroyed every city in North Korea, often with firebombs, bombed dams causing rivers to flood. North Korea was so devastated after this that most of the population was living underground in tunnels, shelters or caves. All in all, 3 million North Koreans were killed in the war, mostly by US bombs.
  • Assisted the French colonialists in the fight against the anti-colonialist Viet Minh.
  • Assisted the British colonialists in the fight against the anti-colonialist Malay guerrillas.
  • Assisted Chiang Kai Shek when he consolidated his rule in Taiwan by installing military rule, outlawing all languages but Chinese and murdering 100,000 people, mostly Leftists.
  • Set up the fascist Gladio stay-behind network all across Europe. This was a group of fascists who would “stay behind” after a Soviet invasion to fight an insurgency against the Soviets. The Gladio network subsequently caused all sorts of problems, including a wave of fascist terror bombings in the Years of Lead in the 1970’s.
  • Illegally interfered with the Italian elections after the war to keep the Italian Communist Party from winning.
  • Threatened to drop nuclear bombs on both North Korea and China if they didn’t say uncle.

Under Democratic Party liberal John F. Kennedy:

  • Stepped up the Vietnam War by vastly increasing the number of advisers into the tens of thousands.
  • Invaded Cuba in the Bay of Pigs invasion.
  • Supported a savage government and state death squads in Guatemala that slaughtered 5-10,000 people while fighting an insurgency.
  • Supported the French colonists versus the FLN anti-colonialists during the Algerian Civil War.
  • Initiated a violent coup that overthrew President Diem of South Vietnam, killing him because he was getting in the way of US plans.
  • Imposed an embargo on Cuba which idiotically continues to this very day.
  • Waged a guerrilla war called Operation Mongoose in Cuba where 10,000 people were killed, often civilians. They would get in boats and cruise along the beaches on Cuba, killing beachgoers with machine guns. They set off bombs in factories full of workers, killing up to 100 people at a time. The US began its endless efforts to murder Fidel Castro.
  • Started a lying campaign that the Castro government was going to take parents’ children away from so they could be raised by the state. 10,000 Cuban children fled the island with their parents.

The Ugliest Woman in the World

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIr3mlNINmg&feature=plcp]
Interesting story about about Lizzie Velasquez, a woman who has a terrible and rare genetic disorder that effects her adipose tissue. Only two people in the US have this condition, which she was born with. At one point, the illness caused her to go blind in one eye. It was also disfigured her to a large degree and it makes her look pretty homely.
A short 9 second video of her called The Ugliest Woman on Earth was made a while back and became a hit on Youtube. The comments were filled with all sorts of nasty remarks, many advising her to kill herself. She read through all the comments, though it was quite a painful exercise.
Then she decided to fight fire with fire, made her own video channel and decided to go public. She also authored a book and wants to become a motivational speaker.
In this video, she talks about bullying, which she has had to experience a lot of. Now it is mostly stares when she goes out, but when she was growing up, she was treated very cruelly by other kids in school. Even now there are whole websites devoted to bashing her and ridiculing her. There are a lot of folks involved in hating on her. They are mostly kids, but there are a number of adults in on it too.
I hope that if I knew her, I could be her friend and be a good friend to her. She seems like a pretty cool person, and I bet she would be a good friend.
It really all boils down to what kind of a society you have. This is one reason I am a socialist.
I remember a Bruce Cummings article about North Korea. He spoke about a man who was badly burned over much of his body by US bombs in the Korean War. The wounds gave him an ugly, monstrous and horrific appearance. There are many North Koreans with war wounds derived from the Americans like this man.
Cummings once accompanied this man around town. He said once they were in an elevator and a South Korean man completely freaked out upon being stuck in the elevator with the wounded man, treating like he was some kind of a circus freak who might contaminate him. He could hardly wait to get away from the burned man.
But Cummings said that everywhere they went, all North Koreans were very kind to him and treated him like he was a normal person, even doting on him. The burned man told Cummings that South Koreans always freaked out when they saw him, and his fellow North Koreans were always very good to him.
Cummings chalked this up to the different set of values fostered in Communist North Korea as opposed to the super capitalist South.

The US Army is the Army of the Rich

The truth is that the US military has always been the army of the rich, the army of the imperialist thieves and mass murderers. Look at how many billions America stole from Iraq – estimates are that the US imperialists stole uncounted billions from the Iraqis in the course of running their government for them after the war. The US is now planning to steal Libya’s money to help bomb Libya – that money belongs to the Libyan people, but the Western imperialists have simply stolen the Libyan people’s money to drop bombs on their heads.

The cruel truth is that the US military is the army of the rich and the corporations. The US homeland needs very little defending, and no one ever tries to invade anyway. Instead, the purpose of the Pentagon is to go around the world killing workers and poor people in order to uphold the rule of the rich and the right of US corporations to exploit the Third World.

It is interesting to look at US wars and military engagements to see how many of them really benefited working class people of the US and other countries. The imperialist wars in Cuba and the Philippines? Are you kidding?

The endless list of interventions in Latin America? They were all to benefit the rich and to kill workers and the poor. Even the invasion of Panama was because Noriega would not play ball with the US on the Sandinistas anymore. The drug dealing thing was a joke. The US, the CIA and our buddies in the rightwing governments and militaries down there have been running dope forever. We look the other way or even help them run the drugs.

Grenada? Pull the other one. The various interventions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic? Give it up. The 7 new US bases in Colombia? They are there to help the Colombian state kill the poor and Left of Colombia.

The intervention in Lebanon? To help Israel. The war against Iraq? A Nazi-like war or aggression that resulted in the US colonization of Iraq. The bases scattered all over the Arab World? To control the oil supply, imperialist style, so no one else can get their mitts on it. This benefits US workers how?

The bases in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus? An imperialist project to surround and threaten Russia. How does surrounding and threatening Russia benefit US workers? Someone?

Bases in South Korea? To threaten North Korea. How does threatening North Korea benefit US workers? Anyone?

I have a question for you. If you are a working class person, why would you join the army of the rich and go around the world killing poor people and workers so that the rich and the corporations can continue to rip them off and exploit them? Why join an anti-worker, anti-poor army? Why go fight for the rich? Why fight for the corporations? Because that’s what you are doing when you join the US military. Why would a working class person do that?  For the money? For the adventure?

Free Market Starvation

Repost from the old site.
The power of capitalist propaganda is immense. According to the ruling class media, the only system that starves anyone anymore is Communism.
One hears this platitude over and over – Communism = starvation. It is true that 600,000 have starved to death in North Korea since the 1990’s. However, 14 million starve to death every year in the world – mostly in South Asia but also 1 million in Latin America – almost all under capitalist regimes. Not one word of this from the ruling class mouthpieces.
This has been going since at least 1986 (when the figure was calculated) with no end in sight.
The Soviet Union and China are now synonymous with starvation. There was a famine in the Ukraine in 1932 that killed 1.5 million people. Previously, during the Russian Civil War, there was a famine in 1921 that killed 9 million people. It is a simple truth that under Czardom, the peasant never had enough to eat. His life expectancy was a mere 32 years and lack of food played a role here.
Under Communism, the peasant had plenty of food to eat for the first time in centuries. In the early 1930’s, the Soviet Union saw the largest harvests in its history, big harvests that continued for decades. All of this is forgotten, and all we know is famine, famine, famine. One wonders how Stalin doubled life expectancy in the USSR while the people starved.
In China again, we hear that Communism starved the people. In 1958, it is true, there was a terrible famine, the worst in modern history, mostly caused by the stupidity of over-procurement by the state, that killed an astounding 15 million people.
Yet year and year out, millions of lives were being saved every year in China. Under Communism, with the exception of 1958, the Chinese peasants finally had enough food to eat. Like the Russian peasants, starvation and lack of food had stalked the Chinese peasant for centuries.
By the early 1970’s, the problem of food in China was finally solved for the first time in centuries. As with the USSR, China also doubled life expectancy under Mao. Once again, one wonders how this was achieved if the people were “starving” as the anti-Communists claim.
In Vietnam in 1944-45, 2 million died during deliberate starvation by French and Japanese capitalist forces when they seized the rice crop. One never hears of this famine. Only Communists starve people.
Cuba has recently lowered malnutrition to 2%, the lowest rate in Latin America. More here and here. It is amazing how they can do that while they starve the population, no?
Here is a Cuban newspaper about how, in Cuba, the right to eat is elevated above the right to shoot off one’s mouth. In fact, the paper suggests intriguingly that the limits on free speech in Cuba are directly attributable to the government’s ability to feed everyone. The suggestion is that if you let everyone shoot off their mouth, food will be snatched from the mouths of babes:

Ironically, the country that supposedly limits the freedom of its citizens is the only one in Latin America where there is not malnutrition,” wrote Periodico 26, an official publication in backwater Las Tunas province, on Feb. 6, alluding to a recent United Nations report stating that only two percent of Cuban children had some kind of nutrient deficit.
“What is portrayed in the U.S. media as an aggression against an individual’s free will, is in fact a synonym for nutritional security for most Cubans.” The newspaper goes on to say that free meals provided at work centers and schools add another crucial component to Cubans’ diets.

In Vietnam, the malnutrition rate of 18% is about 1/2 the Thai rate of 36%, one positive aspect of Vietnamese socialism. When one thinks of Thailand, one never suspects that 1/3 of the population doesn’t get enough food to eat. All one thinks of are tourists, skyscrapers, traffic jams, girly bars, beaches and elephants.
In Pakistan, 62% of all children are already stunted in growth by the tender age of five. But the media tells us that stunting only occurs in North Korea. After all, it is only Communism that starves the people.
Let us focus our attention on the capitalist showcase of Niger, in northern Africa, where the human-hunting industry, the most profitable enterprise capitalism has ever developed, yet festers.
Here capitalism has blessed this blighted and unstable land with the worst human development indicators on Earth, where 40% of children are chronically undernourished (And that is in a bountiful harvest!), where the literacy rate is a Medieval 17%, life expectancy is a tragic 44.7 years, the infant mortality rate is an outrageous 151.8 per 1000, and Niger is bested by only one other country when it comes to killing little kids under age 5.
What is killing the children of Niger, or for that matter, kids across the Sahel? None other than the free market. Recently, free market fundamentalists convinced the government to deregulate the grain market, leading to major fluctuations in grain prices. When prices are high, they are so high that families could not even afford to buy food for their kids.
Worse, money that should have gone to education and health care, such as it exists, goes for food. The wonders of the invisible hand of starvation! Incredibly, while the people starved, Niger exported food according to capitalist market “logic”. One is reminded of Czarist Russia, which exported wheat every year while the peasants went hungry.
Going the free market route was one of the dumbest things Niger ever did. It increased poverty, hunger and starvation. Yet the media tells us that this free market project is the only thing that works, and everything else is “failed”. I think if the successful project were starving me, I might give one of those “failures” a shot.

In the Shining Path of Ann Dunham

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

George Habash, a Revolutionary Life

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

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

CPGB-ML Tribute to Habash

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andoni continued:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes

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

Problems of Leftwing Democracy

Repost from the old site.
In the comments section, astute commenter huy remarks on the conundrum of socialist democracy when capitalists retain control over the media and culture::

The only problem is that a socialist revolution would probably require a dictatorship and repression.
This is because without dictatorship and repression, rich capitalists would be able to prevent significant social services and state planning in a democracy via their control of the media and peoples’ thoughts.
I’m not for socialism as a long term thing, but only as a way to quickly develop a country’s infrastructure and economy, before gradual privatization of suitable sectors.

I respond:
huy is are correct as far as his first two sentences go. I will deal with the third sentence at the end.
This conundrum is why Communists opted for the dictatorship of the proletariat, not because they are lovers of repression and haters of freedom.
The rich capitalists, through their media control and also their cultural construction and fertilization creating Gramscian cultural hegemonies (what huy referred to as “control over people’s thoughts”), are typically able to prevent social services and state planning in a democracy.
This is why Communists say that you never really have a democracy in capitalism. You always have a dictatorship of capital. Be that as it may, most folks nowadays do not seem to want to live under a dictatorship of the proletariat.
Nevertheless, the roadblocks in the way of socialist democracy present a a serious problem.
Not only are the capitalists able to thwart significant progressive change via media and cultural control, but the same capitalists, via control over the economy, are able to stage lockouts and capital strikes, to send their capital out of the country, to artificially create shortages, and to send wealthy housewives out into the streets beating pots and pans in a middle and upper class strike, etc.
These housewife pot-banging strikes occurred in Chile under Allende, Venezuela under Chavez, and just recently occurred again in Argentina when President Kirchner tried to tax booming agricultural exports.
The big ag producers in Argentina responded by trying to starve the cities by staging ag strikes and refusing to ship produce to the cities so the people would have nothing to eat.
What is ominous about this is that these same rich housewife pot-banging demos and a latifundista (large landowner elite) strike presaged the coup that brought the death squads into power in Argentina in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
The generals stayed in power for several years, during which they murdered 30,000 leftwing Argentines, the vast majority of whom were just idealistic young people working with the poor and had not taken up arms at all.
The capitalists will usually try to stage a coup through their control over the military too.
That is why Hugo Chavez is correct in cleansing the corrupt bosses’ oil workers’ union, in cleansing the officer corps of the military of reactionary elements, and putting in some state media.
The corrupt state oil workers union was a white collar union of well to do managers who had been operating the state oil company as a personal ATM for decades. They were behind the owners’ lockout strike that followed the coup, and after Chavez fired those who had been behind the lockout and sabotage, they destroyed much of the records and paperwork of the oil company before they left. Clearly they had to go.
In the previous coup attempt, the middle and upper-class officer corps supported the coup, but the enlisted men, who came from the poor, did not. The poor rank and file military refused their officers’ orders, and the officers backed down. Hence, cleansing the officer corps of coup supporters was a must.
Getting a foot in the door of the Right’s media monopoly was also important. Previously, the rich had all of the papers, magazines and especially TV stations and they used these to wage continuous lying propaganda war against Chavez.
Furthermore, the entire rightwing media not only supported the coup attempt against Chavez but was actively complicit in it. For that treason, Chavez is perfectly within his rights to shut down the entire rightwing media. He only does not do this because of the international outcry it would arouse.
The Right did the same thing with their media control during the Allende regime in Chile, printing wild lies about Cuban armies offshore and hiding in Chilean bases ready to invade Chile and impose Communism at gunpoint.
Middle class and upper class capital strikes can be devastating to the economy, and most folks, no matter how revolutionary, just get tired of the economic pain after a while and vote to put the reactionaries back in power.
Sanctions work the same way. The US and UK and sometimes France and Canada (when those two latter states are in an imperialist mood) usually slap sanctions on democratic Left states as soon as possible.
Recent examples are Nicaragua, Haiti and Zimbabwe (at first democratic, now increasingly dictatorial), and this alone is enough to devastate the economy and cause the people to vote out the Left and put reactionaries back in power.
What happens is that in an effort to get some control of the country back and fight back against all of this US plots, the Left regime often starts becoming more authoritarian and less democratic. Then the US says it’s a dictatorship and needs to be overthrown on that basis.
If that doesn’t work, the US forms a reactionary contra counterrevolutionary army that goes around killing any civilian that is pro-Left, murdering teachers and health care workers, burning down schools, ag cooperatives and health care facilities and just making the place ungovernable. In order to fend off contras and coups, Chavez has built up his military and even armed the population.
One more thing the US does is to flood money into the democratic Left country to buy the election of the reactionaries via all sorts of fake civil society groups. A good way to stop this is to ban all money coming to political groups from outside the country, but that is easier said than done. The money seems to find its way in anyway.
The US and its reactionary allies also stage bombings, shootings, riots, etc, against democratic Left states, and then often blames them on the Left. This is what they did in Chavez’ Venezuela, Aristide’s Haiti and Mossadegh’s Iran.
If worse comes to worse and none of the above works, the Left regime is overthrown by a coup and replaced by a reactionary dictatorship. This dictatorship typically then institutes a reign of terror in which anywhere from 100’s to 1 million progressives are killed all over the land. This is what happened in Indonesia in 1965, when 1 million Leftists were killed in a CIA coup.
What is even creepier is that while the Left is in power, the CIA is usually running around the country making up lists of leftwingers. As soon as the coup comes, the CIA hands over the lists to the death squad Right now in power, and they use these lists to hunt down progressives and murder them.
So if a Left regime is in power, there is always the terror of a future coup followed by a murder spree against anyone politically active in the regime. This is enough to make people afraid to get politically active.
The reign of terror itself so so terrorizes the population that most people are afraid to get involved in progressive politics for years or even decades afterwards. Why get involved? Who is to say when the death squads will come back in power and try to kill you for being politically active in Left politics?
All of this makes socialist democracy or even social democracy in backwards states almost impossible to achieve.
On the other hand, lots of leftwingers are trying to figure out a way to have some sort of socialist or even Marxist democracy, despite all the challenges. The Sandinistas had a democratic socialist revolution, and Hugo Chavez is having one too. The Nepalese Maoists support 100% democracy. There’s new thinking with a lot of Communists nowadays that socialism is not really possible without total democracy.
When I look at Cuba and I think about a few dissidents getting thrown in prison, is that really worse than masses of people dying early from preventable death or not having enough food to eat, or living in shantytown hovels, or prostituting themselves, or homeless kids sniffing glue, turning into criminals and getting killed by cops as happens all over Latin America?
Third World capitalist nightmare states punish an awful lot of innocent people too. Doesn’t Cuba punish a lot fewer innocent people by clapping a few dissidents in prison than are harmed in these failing 3rd world capitalist states?
In India, capitalism is killing 4 million people a year. That’s a five-alarm fire right there. If we had a socialist revolution there even with a dictatorship and saved 4 million lives a year, would it be worth it for a few folks slapped in prison?
I do think that the new way of Chavez, the Sandinistas, the FMLN of El Salvador and the Nepalese Maoists is the better way to go. Nothing wrong with democracy. If the people reject socialism at the polls and go back to capitalism and lots of them go hungry, go homeless, drink sewage water, get sick, get crippled and start dying, I guess we can say that they made a choice to have that happen to themselves.
Most socialist countries did go socialist for a while (usually decades) to develop the economy and then go towards capitalism after they were pretty well developed.
People have no idea how much of China’s economic growth is based on the foundations laid by decades of Maoism. At any rate, most do not realize China is still a very socialist country in many ways.
The Communists in Russia built that place up from nothing. Without the USSR, Russia would probably be like India or Afghanistan. The Vietnamese and Laotian Communists are also putting in a lot of capitalism, and North Korea now has joint partnerships for foreign investors. I support Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela in their experiments at mixed economy. I also really like social market of Belarus.
Really what we ought to look at is does the system give us the outcomes that we want? If it does, it doesn’t matter what mixtures of socialist, collective and private ownership it has.
There are also all sorts of ways of enterprise ownership.
We can have nonprofits, labor collectives, family-run businesses, single owners and ownership by neighborhoods, towns, cities, states and nations. All of these forms of ownership are operating all over the world as you read this.
The cooperative sector in particular is a great way to go, and most do not realize it is a non-capitalist economic system. Worker-owned firms compete with each other, and there is no exploitation of labor as in capitalism.
One of the best examples of that is the Mondragon cooperatives in the Basque Country. Most Cuban agriculture is now run by cooperatives. In the cooperative model, you get away from the management-labor conflict you see in capitalism.

Reactionary Nut Republican On Various Non-Existent Threats

From In Mala Fide, where many a flipped out reactionary hangs out, a super-rightist named Whiskey holds forth:

You’re completely off base on this. The objections to the START treaty is that it hamstrings the US, particularly with weapons modernization (so they actually work) and forbids a ABM shield. Which is needed.
Obama’s objective is to punish White America for having and using Nukes by eliminating them first. As he’s pushed for repeatedly in speeches and actions. No one trusts him because he’s against the US having nukes or a military in the first place.
Nor are you correct about Iran not being able to get nukes. North Korea has them, and just today it was revealed their centrifuge program, thought impossible was far along and done in less than a year, right before our eyes. Of course they have help, as does Pakistan and Iran: CHINA.
China wishes to use proxies to threaten or even nuke the US, deniably, so they can scoop up much of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their economy is a sham and they know it. They have a massive gender imbalance. They have looming demographic shortages coming.
This is the mark of a “use it or lose it” aggressive power: see Japan and Germany, 1930′s. For the Chinese to take Taiwan, and the rest of Asia, as colonies and mercantile advantages (think 1600-1700′s France) they must move the US out, and indirect ways are less risky than overt war (which is disturbingly contemplated in Chinese media and thus with official approval).
Iran is a threat because it too faces a looming crisis domestically with their economy, looming demographic implosion, and like China and Turkey aspirations for empire rebuilding. Iran’s leaders have stated they wish to reconstitute in Islamic form the Persian Empire, stretching into the Balkans, down to Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula.
As a practical matter, Iran’s nukes would allow it to keep oil prices sky high (by threatening the Gulf states) and turf out the US Navy. If you like paying less than $20 a gallon for gas and keeping your job, you’ll find Iran’s nukes a threat. Given the need to start paying off their gunmen and what amounts to a cadre of military gangsters they are likely racing to this goal of nukes + ballistic missiles. Both technology more than sixty years old.
Its not that hard to do, the Russians did it in the 1950′s.
As far as Iran plus Pakistan, each could point to the other if they are both nuclear, if a major US city goes boom!
Which is why Lindsay Grahmanesty is right. We need to dismember Iran before they go nuclear. So we can have gas that is not so expensive it destroys the economy and puts us in horse and buggy times. We also need a robust nuclear deterrent, and ABM against nations like North Korea which are thinly disguised proxy attackers helped by China. Iran does not have any friends and a major power like the US needs to provide useful lessons and reminders of the danger of attacking us.
Our main problem is that no one really believes we have the will and ability to punish nations severely if they threaten our core interests. China has no such problem and is our major competitor. Thus we need to dump the START treaty and do something about Iran, like bomb all its major facilities. Setting back its nuke program and promoting useful fear. [I mean really, who’d care if we bombed the crap out of Iran? But its a good way to put fear of the US into Pakistan’s military, so they control their jihadis.]
Never underestimate the power of a useful example in international relations.

One insane remark at a time here.
The objections to the START treaty is that it hamstrings the US, particularly with weapons modernization (so they actually work) and forbids a ABM shield. Which is needed.
This guy must go to the Richard Perle School in International Relations. First he trots out the old, “We need to still keep building nukes ‘to make sure they still work'” line. Can you believe that this crazy line has captured the famished imaginations of many a US President? Sad but true.
Next up we have the ABM shield. It’s a bad idea, and it’s based on the premise of a winnable nuclear war. Nuclear wars are not winnable. Everyone loses. In the we can win scenario, the ABM shoots down all the enemy nukes, and then we blast them with our nukes. It goes back to the USSR and the Cold War, which is supposedly over, but neocons like this guy are always finding new wars to fight.
Obama’s objective is to punish White America for having and using Nukes by eliminating them first. As he’s pushed for repeatedly in speeches and actions. No one trusts him because he’s against the US having nukes or a military in the first place.
Wow, some Tea Party White racism thrown in for good measure. Obama hates US Whites because we have nukes and niggers don’t. LOL. No one cares that Obama opposes even the US having nukes, supposedly, but even Obama isn’t nuts enough to unilaterally disarm.
Of course they have help, as does Pakistan and Iran: CHINA.
China, a nuclear power, is helping potential enemy neighbors and near neighbors also become military powers, so that maybe they can threaten China in the figure. Right dude. Rule #1 about nuclear powers is that they don’t tend to spread it around. Look at all the big nuclear powers. Any of them proliferated? Of course not. If you had the deadliest poison on Earth, would you even give it to your best friends or family? Of course not.
China wishes to use proxies to threaten or even nuke the US, deniably, so they can scoop up much of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their economy is a sham and they know it. They have a massive gender imbalance. They have looming demographic shortages coming. This is the mark of a “use it or lose it” aggressive power: see Japan and Germany, 1930′s. For the Chinese to take Taiwan, and the rest of Asia, as colonies and mercantile advantages (think 1600-1700′s France) they must move the US out, and indirect ways are less risky than overt war (which is disturbingly contemplated in Chinese media and thus with official approval).
LOL, whoa dude. Too much, dude, too much. Even the Perle – Wolfowitz – Gaffney – Rumsfeld – Cheney – Feith Project for a New American Century sociopaths don’t say things this crazy. There’s crazy and there’s batshit crazy. This is batshit crazy. So nuts I won’t even bother to refute it. Suffice to say there is no evidence for it.
China’s economy in some ways is in better shape than the West’s. It is growing at a remarkable pace. It avoided the financial ponzi scheme World Depression through the use of state banks. China invests in real capital investment, real productivity growth and real commodity production and increasing wages and living standards, whereas the US engages in asset stripping, bald and naked class war out of the 1890’s, financial ponzi schemes, the destruction of the real economy, a financialized casino economy that in reality is a house of cards, declining wages and living standards and an economy that both parties run only so the top 2% can attack the bottom 98%.
China’s economy is run for the nation, the people and workers. The US’ economy is run by and for a parasitical FIRE sector with banksters at the helm determined to suck every last bit of surplus out of consumers in form of payments to banks.
Iran is a threat because it too faces a looming crisis domestically with their economy, looming demographic implosion, and like China and Turkey aspirations for empire rebuilding. Iran’s leaders have stated they wish to reconstitute in Islamic form the Persian Empire, stretching into the Balkans, down to Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Iran’s demographics are no big deal anymore than any other 3rd World Country. The birth rate is below replacement. The economy is doing ok, barring the sanctions. Iran certainly has no desire to be an imperialist state, and neither does Turkey (LOL) and even China does not aspire to such.
Iran’s leaders certainly have never said that they want to recolonize the Arab World under a recreated Persian Empire. This sounds like the fevered blatherings of fanatical Sunnis more than rational analysis.
As a practical matter, Iran’s nukes would allow it to keep oil prices sky high (by threatening the Gulf states) and turf out the US Navy. If you like paying less than $20 a gallon for gas and keeping your job, you’ll find Iran’s nukes a threat. Given the need to start paying off their gunmen and what amounts to a cadre of military gangsters they are likely racing to this goal of nukes + ballistic missiles. Both technology more than sixty years old.
Won’t happen. Even if they ever get them, Iran won’t use nukes to blackmail the world. This is just ridiculous. They will use them like all other sane countries use them, in order to keep idiots like us from attacking them. Duh.
As far as Iran plus Pakistan, each could point to the other if they are both nuclear, if a major US city goes boom!
A US city won’t go boom unless someone shoots a nuke at it. If that ever happened, I’m sure the Pentagon has the high tech to figure out which country launched it. Snark. There’s no way to nuke a US city without shooting a ballistic missile at it. I deal with the suitcase nukes bullshit in an earlier post.
Which is why Lindsay Grahmanesty is right. We need to dismember Iran before they go nuclear. So we can have gas that is not so expensive it destroys the economy and puts us in horse and buggy times.
The homosexual Lindsay Graham is not right. We don’t need to invade Iran, much less dismember it. If you thought Iraq and Afghanistan were fun, try doing Iran!
Iran does not have any friends and a major power like the US needs to provide useful lessons and reminders of the danger of attacking us.
Yeah but no one’s “attacking us” you neocon dumbshit. Oh, that’s right, in the 107 degree minds of the neocons, the US is always “under attack.” Usually the attacks are the “invisible” kind, but they are attacks nonetheless. Snark.
We also need a robust nuclear deterrent, and ABM against nations like North Korea which are thinly disguised proxy attackers helped by China.
We don’t need the ABM, and it doesn’t even work anyway. Ever try shooting down a bullet with another bullet. That’s what an ABM is. It doesn’t work. North Korea is not a Chinese proxy. China has it’s own nukes, and it’s almost an ally anyway. There is huge trade between the US and China. No reason to screw that up with messy things like wars.
Our main problem is that no one really believes we have the will and ability to punish nations severely if they threaten our core interests.
Neocons are always saying this. “Our enemies think we are weak. We need to attack someone to show them we are serious!” By the way, this was one of the main rationales for the Iraq War, and look where that got us. Sure the world is scared of the US.
In the above, “threaten” means just about anything. It means looking at Uncle Sam wrong. It means not following orders when the US issues them. “US interests” means the interests of US imperialism. Not a good thing.
Thus we need to dump the START treaty and do something about Iran, like bomb all its major facilities.
Yeah, brilliant idea, dumbass. Want to see that $20/gallon oil? Then try this.
I mean really, who’d care if we bombed the crap out of Iran?
Just about the whole world, in particular the Muslim World, Russia, China, everyone really? This is another of the neocon delusions. First of all, the world is full of enemies who “hate us for our freedom” or whatever bullshit reason they thought up last night. We have no friends. Second of all, the world really does love America and will secretly be overjoyed when we start the next war. This is the thinking behind the assholes who started the Iraq War, exactly.
But its a good way to put fear of the US into Pakistan’s military, so they control their jihadis.
Yeah dude. Um, Pakistan is afraid we are going to bomb their nuclear facilities? WTF.
Never underestimate the power of a useful example in international relations.
This is the “make an example out of them” neocon school. This argument was also very important in the Iraq War. Boy, this guy is drumming them out one by one here, no?
The scary thing is that this raving lunatic represents the way the Republican Party thinks, and the way that 10’s of millions or possibly even a majority of Americans think, or could easily be led to think. Commenter AJ is right. US imperialism is a menace to humanity. The sooner it crashes and burns, the better.

North Star Compass Notes

Repost from the old site.
From North Star Compass, dedicated to the restoration of the USSR as a socialist state, a few articles.
The first points out that Bulgarian seniors had their pensions cut by 50% in the late 1990’s, such that their pensions are now way below the poverty line.
I don’t know how much Social Security pays, but could you imagine if the US government cut Social Security by 50%? Actually, they want to cut it by way more than under the Republicans’ SS privatization plan (which seemed to be supported by 100% of the US “free press”).
Imagine if US seniors had to live on, say, $500-600/month for a single person? I think they must get more than that, don’t they? Surely SS must pay $800-900/month? And now after the capitalist “reforms” of 2000, health care is no longer accessible to the majority of Bulgarians. This article was from last year, so I doubt anything has changed.
One thing is for sure, you won’t see any articles like this in the US media. Keep in mind that these changes were supported by the entire US media and by both the Democratic and Republican Parties of the US. Isn’t it amazing what kind of evil shit our entire media and both of our political parties support? And the citizens don’t have a clue about any of this.
The next article by Irene Malenko puts North Korea in perspective. I’ve already written about North Korea on here before in a long article. She notes that North Korea is being subjected to the same sanctions that are currently destroying Zimbabwe, so it is really amazing that they are still afloat after all.
North Korea lost 80% of its trading partners overnight in 1990. She asks how Holland or Germany would react if they lost 80% of their trade overnight. Also, the price of oil went up by 10X in less than a year. Let’s see how any capitalist society can handle a 10X increase in the price of oil in only one year.
She also notes that there is almost no crime in Pyongyang, and it’s not due to the secret police either. It’s a whole other mindset there. The streets are clean, with no litter and graffiti.
You find something similar in Belarus, which is still a more or less socialist country: clean streets you could practically eat off, no graffiti, no homeless, almost no unemployed. The absence of drug-sniffing gangs of homeless youth alone (epidemic in the capitalist paradises of Latin America) would seem to be a good thing.
She’s correct that the residents of Pyongyang are well-fed. The “Stalinist” (for lack of any better term) distribution system for food and goods has long since pretty much broken down. I’m not sure what has taken its place, but there are farmers’ markets and small peddlers everywhere.
The last article deals with the changes that have taken place in the capitalist Ukraine that the Ukrainian nationalists love so much. Ukraine privatized all of its coal mines recently. (What for? Why privatize a coal mine? The state can run coal mines perfectly well.)
Since then, Ukraine has some of the most dangerous coal mines in the whole world. Most health and safety standards have been eliminated, and most of the mines have been bought by foreign vulture capitalists, who according to Ukrainian ultra-capitalist laws, are not liable for any health and safety regulations anyway, even those that might still exist.
Labor unions have been outlawed in most of the mines, and those that remain are completely controlled by management. The last phrase is a jibe at some of my readers who think that “class collaboration” is the way to “end the class struggle” and make workers and management both happy. Further, there’s an inhuman speedup regimen going on that is probably also helping to kill these workers.
The last election that was characterized by an Orange Revolution (yet another US-funded color revolution) pitted the pro-US party (responsible for the coal mine horror) against a pro-Russian party coded as evil by the entire US media and the Bush Administration.
The color revolution that the US media cheered on so much (and I assume was supported to the hilt by the Democratic Party too) was all about making Ukraine’s coal mines among the deadliest on Earth and other ultra-capitalist miracles, and it had little other purpose. Amazing the chocolate-covered shit the US media sells as the latest and best See’s Candies, huh?

The Heroic Protests of Senior Citizens of Bulgaria
By Dr. Ivan Angelo
October 2007

In the late 1990’s the pensions of the retired people had been cut by 50%, so that now most of them are living way under the poverty line. Then after the reforms in year 2000, heath care is not accessible to most of the retied people.

DPRK: Where Every Day Is Like May Day
by Irina Malenko
September 2007

Shops are full, and plenty of people are buying. Juvenile delinquency is far lower than in Russia; there are no gangs of glue-sniffing, smoking and drinking kids on the streets. The streets are clean and litter-free; you don’t even see trash cans on the street. People are friendly and quiet, as opposed to being rude and loud in capitalism.
Pickpockets are nonexistent, and you can probably leave your bag anywhere in Pyongyang and no one will steal it. There is little hunger in Pyongyang, but unfortunately there is still quite a bit in the rural areas. They lost 80% of their trade partners overnight in 1990 – we have to ask how Holland or Germany would cope with the overnight loss of 80% of its trade partners.
There are also very serious problems due to US sanctions which have hit the economy very hard – these are the same sanctions that have destroyed Zimbabwe – as such it is amazing that N Korea is still on its feet.

Mounting Tragedies in Capitalist Ukraine
September 2007

A methane blast in the coal mine killed 63 miners and injured scores more. 360 miners that were trapped in this mine at more than 1,000 meters deep had to struggle against a raging fire. This tragic accident again and again highlights the tragedy of the present privatized mines that lack even elementary standard safety features.
Ukraine now has some of the most dangerous mines in the world, forced to working at high speed and, since most of these mines are foreign owned, they are not responsible for any safety regulations that might still exist. There are no trade union allowed in these mines and, many of the so-called leaders of those that still have a trade union, are bought by the management.

A Look at the "Failed Socialist States"

A very rightwing Russian in the comments suggests that Communism and socialism has failed everywhere:

Robert, as a “right wing Russian” Im very curious on your on the fall of the USSR. it was socialist to the bone (my birth certificate even has a nice little hammer and sickle on it, I’m sure you’d love it) yet it fell apart. Also, why do Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea suck? Shouldn’t they on your list?

The list is of the top 13 richest countries on Earth. 12 of the 13 are socialist states (welfare states). The three countries you list are not in the top 13 wealthiest countries.
Look at Russia now. A shithole or what? They were better off under Communism. The transition to capitalism killed a good 15 million people and life expectancy collapsed. I think it has just now recovered, 20 years later.
I’m not wild about pure Communism. It’s got a ton of problems. But I think Russia has gone too far to the right now.
Nevertheless, Russia is a still a socialist country.
Russia has a gigantic state sector in the economy. It still has a very extensive safety net if I am not mistaken. Maternal mortality and infant mortality is very low in all of the CIS. If you compare the CIS to places with similar incomes, housing and health care is excellent.
Moldavia is a very poor country, very poor. Yet their health figures are superb, there’s no hunger, the cities look nice and modern, education is first world.
It’s similar in all of the former states of the USSR. All of the former USSR are still socialist states with a big state sector, vast safety nets, good housing and health care, excellent health and education figures.
All of these great things are a legacy of the USSR.
The Russian government is following a state capitalism similar to the Chinese. It’s not neoliberal capitalism at all. It’s a kind of socialism, certainly it’s socialism according to the Republican Party – Tea Party – Glen Beck sense of the word. The Russian state spends huge amounts of money on roads, broadband, all sorts of public works. Even cities spend lots of money on things like public baths.
All of the former USSR rejects the neoliberal model if I’m not mistaken. Those who went for it the most have eaten shit the worst. Latvia went neoliberal-wild and their economy has been totally creamed, with a Depression as deep as the US Depression in the 1930’s.
Venezuela is doing great! Compared to the rest of Latin America. Things have improved dramatically since Chavez took power. The people love him. That’s why he always wins.
Cuba doesn’t suck either. Cubans have the best housing, health care and education in the region. There’s no unemployment. There are no homeless.
If you go into the rural areas, you will see something you will not see in any other Latin American country, healthy, happy, clean, well-fed children wearing nice clean uniforms. There are no kids on the streets sniffing glue and dressed in rags, starving with no shoes. There are no shantytowns in Cuba. None, zero. Nearly all homes have electricity and plumbing. No other state in Latin America has achieved any of these things.
Cubans are some of the best fed people in the region. The malnutrition rate is 2%, the lowest in Latin America. Cuban health care is the best in Latin America, and Cubans live the longest or nearly the longest in the region. Cubans live longer than Americans! LOL! Cuban health care is so good that rich Latin Americans, fierce anti-Communists, flock to Cuba from all over the region to have specialty work done. Cuba has more agronomists per capita than anywhere else on Earth. Every Cuban has a job, nice clean clothes, access to transportation and access to cultural activities. You can’t say that about anyplace else in the region.
North Korea sucks, but I doubt if it’s their fault. With the fall of the USSR, the price of oil went up 10X and everything collapsed. I’m convinced that they are trying to do everything they can to feed their people and get the country going again, but it’s an uphill battle, plus we threaten them. Before 1990, North Korea was doing great.
I actually support a mixed economy versus pure Communism.

More "Nazism is a Left Movement" Insanity

A rightwinger writes the following in the comments, arguing that Nazism, bizarrely enough, is a movement of the Left.

I have to disagree with you comment that the right wing and conservative movement being about smaller government is “just rhetoric.” If you look at the U.S. constitution, you can see that it is very much about enumerating, specifying and limiting the powers of the federal government while reserving power to the much smaller governments of the states and to the people.
The separation of powers in government to executive, legislative, and judicial branches that keep each other in check was specifically designed to prevent the kind of runaway government that exemplified Nazi Germany or the British Crown in the 1700’s. I fully agree with you that the U.S. government has not lived up to that ideal in many ways, but this government has hardly been in the hands of right-wingers or conservatives for the past half century.
Also, some bloggers claim that the fact that Nazis fought against other left wingers proves that they were not socialists. This argument has no more validity than saying that different denominations of Christianity fighting each other proves that any one of them wasn’t Christian. Within any belief system, you may well find factions fighting over who will be top dog.
The unbridled centralized power of the Nazi government to control the economy and corporations, while trampling on the rights of individuals and exterminating millions of people based upon race and religion is just an especially warped form of socialism. I maintain that one of the biggest lies of the twentieth century has been that Nazis were right wing. That kind of centralized government power is completely inconsistent with right wing ideology which strives to put strict limits on government. George Washington said it well: “Government is like fire – a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

There is a field called political science. They don’t agree with you. Nazism is considered by political scientists to be a movement of the far right, for what it’s worth. There is a recent movement by some lunatics, mostly in the US, to repackage Nazism as a movement of the Left. This movement is led by extreme rightwing loons like libertarians, extreme Chicago School neoliberals and the Austrians who follow Mises. Because the rightwing in the US is insane, it’s filtered down to the Republican Party as a whole. You would be hard-pressed to find a single respected political scientist anywhere on Earth who thinks Nazism is a Left movement.
It’s not. It’s not a Left movement. Not at all.
The founding fathers were actually liberals, progressives, and in some ways libertarians. A movement for limiting the extreme powers of government at that time was a very liberal movement. Back then, conservatives were all big government types. The rightwing in the US at the time, the Federalists under Hamilton, were big government types. They were monarchists, elitists who were anti-democratic. The rightwing has been opposed to democracy all over the world and at all times. Conservatism is a movement of elites, typically wealthy elites. Democracy is bad for business.
Your notion that the Right is about small government is ridiculous. Here in the US it tends to be, but they don’t even do very good on that score. Government is usually much more repressive under a US rightwing regime than under a left one. George Bush’s regime was one of the most dictatorial we have ever seen in the US. It was a radical rightwing regime.
Around the world, rightwing regimes have almost always been big government projects, at least in terms of the national security state. They are typically quite repressive too. The “small government” conservatism is pretty much a uniquely American phenomenon. Other than Thatcher’s Britain, show me one more rightwing government since WW2 that believed in or practiced “small government.” This is a fetish of US conservatism not shared by the Right of the rest of the world.
I have a hard time understanding why this “Nazism is a Left Movement” has got going. This is a recent thing. When the Nazis were in power, they were generally loved by the Right all over the world because they were some of the most badass anti-Communists that ever lived. After the war, former Nazis sought refuge in hard rightwing regimes in South America and joined with CIA groups and the rightwing governments of Taiwan and South Korea in fighting the Left all over the whole world. Post World War 2, many hard right dictators have lauded the Nazis as their heroes. No one on the Left has.
I suppose it is because we say that Nazism was a far rightwing movement. Well it was, and it is. Big deal. So the right is defensive about this because they don’t want to be associated with Nazis. It’s ridiculous. It’s as if every liberal had to renounce the Khmer Rouge and deny that they were a Left movement for fear of being tainted with them.
There have been plenty of nasty folks on the Left. The Khmer Rouge were mass murderers. Mao, Stalin, the North Koreans, the Vietnamese, Hoxha, Mengitsu – they all killed lots of people when they were in power. But the Nazis were not among the mass murderers of the Left. Those were the mass murderers of the Right. As if it matters though, really.

Characteristics of Fascism

The Tea Partiers, rightwing extremists, Third Positionists, Yockeyites, etc. say that Fascism is a Left movement. No it’s not. It’s a rightwing movement, far right. Let’s look at the evidence:

Fascism is an extreme rightwing system characterized by:

  1. Varying degrees of contempt for democracy
  2. Intimidation of political opponents
  3. Utter contempt and hatred for liberalism, socialism and Communism
  4. Hatred for homosexuals and minorities
  5. Utter contempt for social programs as palliatives for the weak
  6. The notion that the strong survive, and the weak die
  7. Often use of extreme religiosity, usually Christianity
  8. Exaltation of masculine values and contempt for feminine values
  9. Emphasis on traditional values and traditional morality with hatred for “immoral” behavior
  10. Hyperemphasis on the family unit
  11. Utter hatred and contempt for feminism – the notion that women belong at home
  12. Ever-present propaganda
  13. Total dishonesty in government and society – the Big Lie
  14. A total marriage of government and business to where we can’t tell where one ends and the other begins
  15. Extreme emphasis on law and order
  16. Use of street thugs to enforce order
  17. Massive corruption in government and business
  18. Utter hatred for workers’ organizations and workers’ rights
  19. Exaltation of class society as divine and denial of class conflict
  20. Extreme, often belligerent, nationalism tending towards jingoism and militarism
  21. Hatred of most other societies as inferior or weaker
  22. Insulation and xenophobia – refusal to read anything from outside the motherland
  23. Hatred and contempt for all international institutions
  24. Hatred for all sentimentality, kindness, sympathy and other “soft, weak, feminine emotions”

Sound very Left to you? Not really. Not in general anyway. Sure, there have been crossovers. North Korea has fascist elements. The Khmer Rogue did too. So did Romania’s Ceaucescu.

National Bolshevik Video

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39IjFe4CS4c&feature=email]

I honestly don’t know where to begin with this crap.

This is some of the most fucked up and confused politics I’ve seen in a while.

Is socialism great, or is Socialism Death, as the video argues in one case?

The endless fascist imagery, the violent, morbid, punk, death and frankly occult imagery is very disturbing. This worship of violence, death and the occult is what fascism is all about.

The Communist leaders they love for the most part were some of the worst and most murderous Communists of all.

Stalin murdered 3.1 million people. Pol Pot caused the death of 1.7 million, 1/4 of the population. Mao did quite a bit of killing himself. Ceausescu was one of the worst, most backwards and most fascist-like leaders in the East Bloc. He had a ton of blood on his hands, and he’s nothing to envy. Ceausescu promoted natalism and made abortion illegal. This is progressive and pro-women’s rights? Stalin made abortion much harder to get in the 1930’s. Saddam Hussein was nothing but a murderer. The North Korean Kims have a horrific human rights record.

The video’s images of Nazis were very disturbing. Nazis are shit. They were shit then, they’re shit now, they’ll be shit forever. The video makes an extensive case that Stalinist Communism and Nazi National Socialism were basically one and the same thing. It’s not the case. They also play up the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a treaty that is very misunderstood. This Communism = Nazism, Nazism is socialism, Nazism is Leftism shit could have been written by an American hard rightwing anti-Communist.

Many of the Nazbol (the name itself is disturbing as it sounds like Nazis) marchers look like skinheads. The written introduction to the video defends not only nationalism (somewhat dubious) but also “racialism,” which is just a fancy word for racism. So Nazbols are apparently not only nationalists but also racists. Apparently Nazbols are also anti-Semites. Wonderful! Such a progressive movement, moving forwards and leaving barbarism behind! But that’s not so. Instead this movement embraces barbarism and looks backwards, not forwards. The opposite of progress, or progressivism.

Fuck this Nazbol shit. It’s interesting, but it seriously creeps me out. Even thinking about it makes my head spin.

Anti-Communist Bullshit About North Korea

Via the BBC.

It’s true that the regime lies all the time, and lies to its own people, and that there is a omnipresent propaganda system based to a large extent on lies. There is also rewriting of history.

However, there were some serious problems with this video. Frankly, this shit is just straight up anti-Communist propaganda from the capitalist BBC.

First of all, the hostess discusses the rewriting of history about the Korean War. According to the North, the Americans poured across the border and invaded North Korea. This did not occur.  But according to this BBC crap, it was the North Koreans who actually poured across the border. This lie is what almost all Americans believe about this war.

I would definitely say that the North Korea was the aggressor in the initial stage of the Korean War. However, speaking technically, the two sides had been attacking each other back and forth across the border for some time before the war started. The best analysis of the actual start of the war is that both sides simultaneously attacked each other. The Western media will never tell us this. Who’s rewriting history now?

The central lie of this video, as with all Western capitalist propaganda about North Korea, is the “Communism starves the people” lie. Actually, Communism does not starve the people. Other than brief famines during rapid collectivization, Communist regimes have generally done a much better job at insuring that everyone gets enough to eat than capitalist regimes.

There are shortages of certain foodstuffs, and there is a lack of variety, but definitely, everyone’s stomach gets fed. In China, the USSR, Cuba, Vietnam and the East Bloc, huge strides were made in in basic nutrition. To this day, the former nations of the USSR have very low rates of malnutrition. Communism is great for filling your belly.

If Communism per se is to blame for North Korea’s food crisis, how is that North Korea was able to feed its people just fine from 1945-1993, for 47 years. Did something change in 1993? The system is the same. If anything, there is much more capitalism in the system now than during 1945-1993, yet the food problem is much worse. How does this argument make sense?

Another argument of this video is that North Korea’s electrical power problems are caused by Communism. Yet there were no electrical power problems from 1945-1993. The system is the same now as then. What changed?

The problems of the system really have nothing to do with Communism, central planning or any of that. The truth is that the system collapsed in 1990. The USSR was selling North Korea oil at 10 cents on the dollar. The whole system, from heavily mechanized agriculture to oil dependent industry, relied on this cheap oil. In 1990, the subsidy collapsed and suddenly they had to pay the world price for oil. Overnite, the price of oil went up 10X. It would be as if here in the US we suddenly had to pay $30/gallon for gas. What would our economy look like? Come on.

The 10X increase in the price of oil collapsed the economy. There was no oil to run the heavily mechanized agriculture. There was no oil to run the oil dependent industries. Factories were shuttered. Agricultural production collapsed. Here it is, 17 years on, and things are not much better. They still can’t afford oil to run their farms or industry. That’s why you see bicycles in the video and cows working in the fields. Most of North Korea’s machinery broke down, and there was no money to replace it. The central problem is that the state is broke.

The North Korea haters are asked what exactly North Korea should do to remedy this crisis. They don’t seem to have any answers. I honestly think that the state is doing the best it can to provide people with electricity and food, just as it always has. It’s just that agricultural production has collapsed along with electricity production, and it’s going to be hard to get them going again with empty state coffers. I don’t buy that the state is deliberately starving people. That’s what capitalist countries do.

Great Article on North Korea

This is a great new article on North Korea, an interview with a fine North Korea scholar, Colin Marshall, an American who teaches at a university in South Korea. He has been intensively studying North Korea for 20 years now, mostly by reading their official publications.

A few points:

First of all, he disagrees that this is a classic Marxist-Leninist state anymore. North Korea recently removed the word “Communism” from its Constitution. Indeed, many Leftists and even Communists have washed our hands of these guys a long time ago. Instead, he argues that this is a state that results when the Far Left and Far Right meet in a sort of a circle. So, it is kind of a Marxist-Leninist-Fascist state, if such a thing is even possible.

The state is based on a racist rhetoric (Marshall sees North Korea as possibly the most racist state on Earth right now) that sees the Koreans as the pure people, untainted by evil, who are being menaced by these evil forces, specifically the Americans. The South Koreans are included in this racist view of the world. Kim Jong Il and his father are romanticized as some kind of blood and soil fathers of the people.

Even with access to outside media in recent years (Yes, many North Koreans can now access outside media) the overwhelming majority of North Koreans still buy into this philosophy. Even if they realize that many of the stories about Kim and his father are not true, they believe in them the same way that some believe in religious stories – that the story may not be factually true, but it represents the essence of what Kim is all about.

The article also plays up the paranoid, belligerent and irrational nature of the state, whose view revolves around the Korean War and specifically the US bases and military in South Korea. South Korea is seen as a good land of the great pure Koreans that has been colonized by the evil Americans. I’m not sure if Kim even wants to negotiate a peace treaty with the US, because then he would have little to rally his people around.

In recent years, North Koreans have begun to realize that most South Koreans live pretty well, and regime propaganda about the horrible lives of South Koreans was not true. Now the regime has to justify to the people why it is that their lives are in general so much worse than South Koreans’. This cognitive dissonance may well set off a new war.

The author says it’s true that the North has a command economy, but fascist Germany and Japan had command economies too. He draws some analogies to the fascist and extremely militaristic states and the North Korean state.

North Korea is not nuts enough to attack the US or Japan. This is what the crazy anti-Communist North Korea haters in the US continuously harp on. However, they may well be nuts enough to attack South Korea, and that’s a disturbing thought right there.

The North Korean military is a vast military machine, the 4th largest on Earth. They are well-fed and supplied with a tremendous amount of innovative vehicles and weaponry, some of which would boggle your mind. They also have excellent skills at information warfare. They are not to be dismissed or messed with at all.

The article, ultimately, was depressing. I’m not sure how the world can appease or accommodate North Korea. This is important because if we don’t, we may see more risky type provocations on their part, with potentially ominous consequences.

The regime is definitely desperate for money. I’m not sure what can be done about that either.

The Total Failure of Indian Capitalism

Facts:

In India, 44% of those under 3 suffer from malnutrition, as opposed to an average of 25% for sub-Saharan Africa. India has the most malnourished people on Earth, and malnutrition and starvation in India is twice as bad as in Africa.

In North Korea in the mid-1990’s, there was a terrible famine that killed 600,000 people . At the very worst of the famine, the malnutrition rate in North Korea was only as bad as it is year in and year out in India. Yet the MSM never tells you about starvation and malnutrition in India, only in North Korea. In 1986, 14 million people a year were dying from the effects of malnutrition, mostly in the South Asia region of which India is the most prominent part. There’s no reason that think that figure has improved with time.

Tens of million Indians live on the streets of India! Yes, that is right, they do not have homes, and they are homeless, living on the streets. This where they eat, drink, bathe, fuck, shit and piss. This is India: millions up millions live, camped out like animals, on the streets of the cities.

Even if you can get a place to live in the slums of Indian cities, it is little better than the streets. Raw sewage flows in the streets and during floods, often fills the homes in the slums. People end up standing in ankle deep sewage water that has filled their home. This is India, every day of every year.

More facts:

60% of children under 5 in India are malnourished, and the vast majority of women are anemic. The majority do not have access to clean water, so they drink dirty and polluted water that can and does give them all manner of diseases.

Indian health care is a failure. State health care exists, but a friend of mine said that if you have money, you get out of a state hospital and into a private hospital. Why? State hospitals may well be a death sentence. You will get treated little if at all. If you have money to bribe the doctors to actually treat your loved one, you stand a better chance. In most rural areas, there is no health care period.

In many rural areas, there are no schools. The state may build a schoolhouse, but the teacher never shows up, and he still gets paid anyway. Many villages have no schools period. In those that do, they are ridiculously underfunded, and most drop out as very young children to go to work. Child labor is everywhere in India, as is out and out slavery. The state does nothing to stop it.

Untouchables in India.

The life of the untouchables or Dalits in India is so horrible that it virtually beggars description. This state of affairs is mandated by the Hindu religion, and there is no hope in sight. If you get rid of caste, you get rid of Hinduism. Hinduism probably cannot exist without caste. Hindu ideologues like to argue that a casteless Hinduism can exist, but it seems dubious. No caste, no Hinduism. Since caste is an integral part of Hinduism, one wonders exactly what good this religion is, and why it should even exist at all.

Any thoughts? Why should Hinduism exist?

Almost as bad as caste oppression, mostly in the rural areas, is the opposite, caste based affirmative action. Dalits and other low castes now have affirmative action policies mandated by the state. This would not be so bad, but things at the university level are not positive. For instance, Dalit and low caste gangs at universities threaten professors to pass Dalits and low castes or at least give them passing grades. Those teachers who refuse to comply may be attacked and beaten. Increasingly, a diploma from an Indian university has dubious value.

100 million excess deaths in Indian 1947-1979.

Lately 4 million excess deaths per year. People are always saying what a failure Communism is.

One way to test this theory is to look at China and India. In 1949, their developmental figures were nearly identical. Since then, China has completely surpassed India in every way. This was true even during the Mao era. In fact, by 1979, Indian capitalism was causing 4 million excess deaths a year as opposed to the alternative model in China. In other words, the Chinese “murderous” Communist model, if adopted by India, would have saved 4 million lives per year.

Failure to adopt the Chinese model resulted in 4 million deaths per year in India above and beyond the Chinese model. Note that the 4 million excess deaths even holds after the numerous excess deaths caused by Chinese Communism. So, the Indian model had killed about 100 million Indians by 1979 since 1949 – this is above and beyond the deaths in China, including famine deaths in the Great Leap Forward.

Extrapolating from 1979-2010, we can estimate another 100 million deaths in India, for a total of 200 million excess deaths in India (above and beyond deaths caused by Maoists in China) since 1949, directly as a result of Indian capitalism.

There are proponents of the Indian capitalist model on this site. They urge to “just give us some time.” With a bit of time, Indian capitalism will soon develop and provide a great standard of living for everyone. Look, you guys have had your chance. 60 years is long enough. You had your day in the sun, you blew it, and it’s time to try something new.

True, India is getting some great economic growth these days. But during the period of this wild economic growth, from 1995-present or the past 15 years, the malnutrition rate in India has been flat at 51%. Essentially, 0% of this economic growth is trickling down to those who so need it most desperately. Time to try something new!

Some wonder why I support the Indian Maoists. A stark look at the figures above ought to tell you why. The Maoists are the only folks in India who have a plan to even begin to deal with these issues. Let’s give them a chance.

North Korean Famine in Context

Some asshole commenter, who is now banned, writes, in reference to the Communism Starves the People Bullshit post:

Go move to North Korea and see if you starve, moron.

There is little starvation in North Korea these days. Even at its very worst in the 1990’s, it was only as bad as India is year in and year out. Yet you never hear about starvation in India, do you? Only in North Korea. Further, 600,000 died, not 2 million or however many they are throwing about. I’ve done research on the famine, and I’m having a hard time figuring out how the North Korean government could have avoided it at the time. If someone can show me how the North Korean government could have avoided the famine of the 1990’s, please do so in the comments.

Rations are rather tight these days, especially in the countryside, but not many people are actually starving. However, it’s not uncommon for rural workers to tire easily due to not getting enough food.

North Korea is embargoed by the entire world. They can only trade with a few other countries. The US threatens to attack any country that trades with them, and we’ve had them under strict embargo since Day One. Furthermore, we are still officially at war with them, and we are constantly threatening to attack them, especially with nuclear weapons. This forces them to spend 35% of GNP on weaponry.

North Korean GNP is back up to around 15-20 billion/year. That’s the level they were at in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but now their population is greater.

Lack of arable land means that it’s dubious if North Korea can ever feed itself, but many states on Earth can’t feed themselves and must rely on food imports, so there is nothing new there. North Korea is probably limited by the fact that it’s ability to import food is constrained.

The Stalinist pure Communism has been dead in North Korea for 10-15 years now. Much of your average North Korean’s income now comes from the private sector, especially small farmers and other types of markets. These have sort of a swap meet/farmer’s market feel about them, and they are now quite common.

These is also a serious problem with power or electricity in North Korea. That’s one of the reasons they have been trying to develop nuclear power. I don’t blame them.

The Terrorist Nukes Bullshit

Barack Obama is in Washington hosting a stupid international conference on terrorism and nuclear weapons. Supposedly, the terrorists are trying to make a nuclear bomb. Once they get one, they will use it. Everyone is scared! Even the smart people!

There are several strands of idiots who are feeding this Stupid Frenzy.

First, there are the National Security Staters in the US, ever hungry for a bigger budget.

The Defense budget is higher than any time since WW2, we spent more on defense than the rest of the world combined, yet it’s never enough, and we are terrified of nations like Iran with a military budget 1% the size of ours. There must be a name for this psychological syndrome. The bigger and stronger you are, the more worried you are about pissant, insect-like threats.

None of it makes sense, but it’s been a part of American Stupid Culture for a long time now. Both parties are “strong on defense.” Why? Who knows? With the Republicans, it’s an article of faith, and with the Democrats, they keep trying to act like Republicans on this issue, but no matter how hard they try, Republicans scream that the Dems are “soft on defense.” Tens of millions of otherwise intelligent Americans are actually intensively involved in this insipid debate.

There is one reason for a gigantic military budget like that, and one only. If the US is an Empire, and US capitalist imperialism intends to rule the globe for multinational corporations and the world elite, then the gigantic US imperialist army makes perfect sense. Like the Roman Army back in the day. But no one ever says we need the huge military for Empire, although apparently that’s what it is for, since it can’t be for anything else. Why is that?

US imperialism is funny. Anyone with a brain can see it exists, as all huge capitalist powers are necessarily imperialist, but no one ever admits it.

Ever hear a Republican shout, “Hooray for US imperialism!”? Of course not. Republicans all insist there is no US imperialism, and they call you Commie for even bringing it up.

Democrats, sadly, also say there is no US imperialism, and they give you a disgusted look when you say there is. The more intelligent ones say that we used to be an imperial power, back in, say, 1903. But we chucked all our colonies, except for a few! Whoops! And we have not been imperialist for decades now. Others will tell you that the USSR was imperialist because they controlled Eastern Europe, but the US isn’t.

US imperialism works great. Everyone who matters knows it exists, but they never talk about it. The other 95% are deliberately kept in the dark by a propaganda system dedicated to denying the fact that this imperialism even exists. The magician gets to fool everyone, and no one ever sees how it’s done, or even that he’s playing tricks.

The second faction is International Zionism.

International Zionism is in control of about 400 nuclear weapons, including atom bombs, hydrogen bombs and the ultimate capitalist weapon, the neutron bomb. The neutron bomb is cool because it kills off the useless wage-hogging human workers while letting the capitalists keep all their stuff, like buildings and factories and banks. Israel also may have tactical nukes, which are some of the worst of all. These are designed for specific situations, and can be supposedly fired out of artillery.

Like the Americans above, the Israelis have Insecure Bully Syndrome. They have 400 nukes and the 4th biggest military on Earth, but they scream and yell like children every time some nignog from Gaza shoots a glorified bottle rocket at them. It’s like there’s a 300 champion prize fighter screaming that 7 year old girls are going to kick his ass. So he beats up little girls in self-defense, while everyone nods and agrees with him. That’s how nutty it is.

Anyway, Israel doesn’t want any competition. They get all the nukes, and their enemies get none. That’s called: fair. I’m not kidding. That’s what it’s called: fair.

International Zionism is always yelling, “Terrorists will get nukes and drop them on Aunt Ruth in Tel Aviv! Oy vey!”

It’s ridiculous, but it’s mostly just a way of whipping up anti-Muslim hysteria. After all, terrorists = Muslims.

The other faction are the liberals.

Liberals hate nuclear weapons, and they are always wringing their hands about them. We have to stop proliferation!

Hmm, are the nuclear powers going to give up their bombs? Course not. Don’t ever challenge a liberal on this one. They will stammer and sputter and slam their fist on the table. The US must have nukes because we are Good. Possibly even God-ordained Good. Therefore we can’t give up our nukes. So…does anyone else get nukes to, like, defend themselves against the saintly Americans? No way! The liberal is pounding the table by now and his face is turning red.

US liberalism has always been pretty bankrupt.

So Obama’s hosting the Stupid Conference. You know, the Conference To Keep Muslims From Getting Nukes, because that’s what it’s really all about:

The day before the conference, the Indian prime minister met Obama and tackled him about Pakistan’s inaction against Muslim terrorists and exhorted him to jointly combat terror emanating from Pakistan as the most dangerous source of potential nuclear terror.

According to Debkafile’s military and intelligence sources, the Indian and US leaders failed to agree on whether Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal was sufficiently secure. Indian leaders as well as their military and intelligence advisers have repeatedly warned Washington that al Qaeda and Taliban were moving in on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities through their deep penetration of Pakistan’s intelligence service and may soon be in position to take over.

In his previous conversations with Obama, Singh reported that Israeli intelligence shared India’s assessment of the Pakistani nuclear hazard.

Or maybe it’s the Get Pakistan Conference. Pakistan is home of the Muslim nuke, and Muslims are terrorists, so Pakistan = nuclear terrorism. Um, right?

Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of Israel, was supposed to show up, but he canceled, afraid he would have to admit to the 400 nukes he has stashed in his backyard.

Well? So is it real or what? I mean the terrorist nukes?

No, no and no. It’s not real. The terrorists, whoever they are, cannot make a nuke. Even large countries with huge budgets, gigantic universities and thousands of the best engineers have the darnedest time making these things. It’s quite difficult, and many nations have tried to make nukes and given up because they were not able to do it.

So that means a bunch of terrorist yo-yos hiding in caves are going to “make a nuclear bomb,” right?

Can you believe serious people discuss this stuff?

Another thing is that a nuke, if you have one, is more or less useless. For instance, if I were a terrorist, I could not stash my secret nuke here in my apartment. That’s because a nuke is about the size of a Volkswagen. Should be simple to smuggle such a tiny object around, no?

OK, suppose I got a nuke the size of a Volkswagen. I bought it at Osama’s Used Terror Supplies on the Internet.

I somehow got it shipped to my house without the world’s intelligence agencies finding out, and now I’m storing in my garage, next to my other car. Suppose I put it on a truck to detonate it. Thing is, there is no way to detonate this bomb.

I could even put it in a plane, assuming I could find a plane big enough to carry a Volkswagen, and drop it on New York City and nothing would happen other than a few folks might get squashed. Same as if you dropped a Volkswagen on Manhattan. Just dropping the thing won’t detonate it.

You could shoot it with any weapon you can think of, drop bombs on it, set the darn thing on fire, heck, I bet you could even stick on a rocket and shoot into the Sun and nothing, I mean nothing, is going to detonate that bomb.

In order to detonate a nuclear bomb, you have to perfect a detonation device. The device must be calculated down to the thousandth or millionth of a second. Many nations have spent years trying to get the detonation right and have not succeeded. I doubt if North Korea has the detonation down yet, and they’ve probably been trying for 15-20 years.

So, obviously, a bunch of yahoos who ride donkeys and live in mountain caves could make a detonation device just like that, huh?

See how dumb this debate is?

The International Zionists and US Security Staters (pretty much the same folks anymore) like to scare themselves, and scare you. They’re like this international brotherhood of Steven King types running around thinking up scary stories all the time to keep their oft-useless paychecks coming.

One of their latest horror stories was something called the suitcase nuke. Fools have been on prime time news for 20 years now warning us direly about these suitcase nukes, perfect for terrorists. And the terrorists are always trying for the suitcase nukes. You know, so they can act like they’re going to the office and instead blow up Washington DC while they’re riding on the subway reading the paper.

You picture some guy with a suit and tie, carrying a suitcase, right? Inside is a nuke! To blow up Manhattan! Scary, huh?

Know what? It’s bullshit. There are no suitcase nukes. They exist in the same netherworld as anything in the world of science fiction. They are totally theoretical, and anyway, they would be the size of a footlocker, not a briefcase, if they even did exist. After the USSR broke up, wild rumors swirled around that the Soviets had developed suitcase nukes. 20 years later, and not one has ever turned up. No photos, no evidence, no nothing. So far, they’re as real as the Man in the Moon.

So this is what Obama is hosting an international conference about right now. Barack today:

Ahead of the Washington conference, US president Barack Obama called nuclear terror “the single biggest threat to US security, short term, medium and long-term.”

You idiot.

The “Communism Starves the People” Bullshit

Commenter tulio notes on this post, complaining about Communism:

Seems like there’s always some famine that happens in communist countries that wipes out hundreds of thousands if not millions. Look at China’s great famines. Cambodians had to resort to eating spiders they dug up just to survive. I think these were man-made events. Capitalism has it’s flaws, but Communism is just fucked up to the core. There hasn’t been one example of a communist success.

At least not one that didn’t have to throttle back and incorporate capitalism into their economy, like China. And then that’s not even getting into all the other shit communist governments do like the censorship of the internet, lack of freedom to protest, etc.

I’ll take capitalism any day, warts and all. I just think we need some elements of socialist safeguards and need progressive taxation to try and stop the rich from getting too rich.

I’m no Orthodox Commie by any means, despite what everyone believes. I’m just a socialist. That said, I tend to support most forms of socialism that actually work well (I don’t support fake socialism that doesn’t work, and I don’t support all Communist states). As Communism is a form of socialism, I tend to look favorably on it, but then I also look favorably on European social democracy, since I consider that also a form of socialism.

I support state funding of education, medicine, food, shelter, corrections, telecommunications, military, infrastructure building, public health, libraries, parks and wildlife reserves, R & D, social safety nets, housing, utilities, and maybe even a few industries here or there. I’m basically a Big Government with a capital B type of guy.

That said, I would like to defend the Communist record against one of the worst slanders, that “Communism equals starvation.” Not true, it’s actually capitalism equals starvation.

There were continuous famines in China under capitalism. In 1949, life expectancy was only 32 years in capitalist China. The rural people lived on the edge of starvation and death all the time. Read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck to see what it was like. From 1949-1980, Mao increased life expectancy from 32 to 65. That’s the greatest increase in life expectancy that the world has ever seen.

Furthermore, the Communists built that country up from nothing. Same thing with Russia. Russia was a zero pre-Communism. Communists built that country into a 1st World country. Even now it’s a good place. The press here bitches about Soviet style housing, but it looks decent enough to me. Anyway, compare the East Bloc, the former USSR and China to Latin America, Africa, India, the Philippines or the rest of the capitalist shitholes.

None of those places have the type of horrific slums, cardboard shack shantytowns, or outrageous poverty that you see every day in those capitalist paradises. Imagine if Latin America, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Afghanistan and the rest of the shitholes had followed a Communist model of development. Sure, they would have run into problems and at some point, they may have moved in the direction of Eastern Europe, the former USSR and China. But let us look at housing alone. All of these places would have adequate housing. Now you can complain about Soviet bloc housing, but I’d rather see that in Brazil, Delhi, Manila and Lima than those horrifying slums and favelas. Medical care would be decent in all of those places – they would have good health figures, especially maternal mortality, infant mortality, and life expectancy. They would have enough to eat – malnutrition rates would be low.

The fact that capitalism everywhere seems to produce these horrific, nightmarish slums with no end or cure for them in sight is reason enough for me to feel that it’s a totally failed system.

There have been a few famines in the Communist countries, true, but you must realize that there’s a continuous famine in the capitalist world, mostly in the 3rd world. As I noted, capitalism starves 14 million a year, year in and year out. A couple years of that, and they’ve beaten everyone starved under Communism put together.

There was a famine in the USSR, true, at the beginning of collectivization. There was another in China around the same time. It seems like if they collectivize ag too quickly, ag collapses for a few years before the new system gets going. If they want to collectivize ag, they ought do so slowly.

It’s a big lie that Communism starves people. It’s capitalism that does that. In general, the Communist states like the USSR, the East Bloc, China, etc. have done a fantastic job of feeding the people, especially compared to the disastrous dietary conditions pre-Communism.

True, the diet is not top-notch, but it fills your stomach. There was a famine in the USSR in 1932, but there’s never been another. There was one in 1962 in China, but there’s never been another. Regular deadly famines spread through both places pre-Communism.

In 1980, Cubans had the highest dietary intake in Latin America. Right now, Cuba has the lowest rate of malnutrition in Latin America. It’s really hard to make this “Communism starves the people” argument. It’s generally not true. Communism is generally pretty good about putting adequate food in people’s stomachs.

And capitalism is not! One thing capitalism cannot ever seem to do is to feed its populations adequately. When I die in 30 years, capitalism still will be failing to feed its own populations. If there’s any indictment of capitalism, that’s it. WTF man? You call that a successful system? You can’t even feed your own people, give me a break.

I’m no fan of the Khmer Rogue, but realize that there was already mass starvation going on when they took over. Agriculture had collapsed in the countryside long since. I don’t agree with emptying the cities to the rural areas like they did, but the reason they did that was to try to get the ag system going again. Presently, capitalist Cambodia has a sky high malnutrition rate.

What happened with Communist economics is more a problem with chronic shortages of food and other basics and luxuries, long lines, housing shortages, etc. Also collectivized ag had poor productivity. The centrally planned economy doesn’t work very well because you have to figure out how much everyone is going to consume every year at the start of the year and plan for that. It’s almost impossible to do that, and that leads to economic deformations. Also, labor productivity was often poor.

The best system in a lot of cases seems to be some sort of mixed economy.