Never knew much about this band from Derry in Northern Ireland. This is their all-time great famous single released in 1978. They were a combination of garage rock, rock, glam rock, punk, and later, post-punk. I never even heard this song until a few years ago. Wondering what I’ve been missing all this time.
I was on a discussion on Academia.edu recently about Ireland with a reference to the War of Independence days, and an Irishman left this note in reference to someone saying that both sides were equally bad:
Yes, sides are fruitless. Unless taking the side of right over that of wrong.
The Anglo-Irish Treaty was ratified under threat of an out and out war from Britain, with the partition of Ireland, with the command of the Oath of Allegiance to the English Monarch , etc. Deviation from truth multiplies later a thousand fold. In neocolonial duplicity, the Treaty was neither and both at the same time and has since become even more dissimulated in an ever-thickening fog of commentary amidst the perceived failure to complete a successful national revolution.
Without an understanding of her history and her defeat, Ireland will not collide with what she has become. Since the Good Friday Agreement, more disenfranchised people, mostly young men, have died from suicide in the North than in ‘The Troubles’.
A birthright was stolen. Ireland is animated by foreign and hidden marionettists, the attachment of the strings according to their purpose. Ireland is a likeness, as in a memory, where and when something happened and did not un-happen. Perhaps there is still truth in the Irish proverb that after the foul act, the grandchild should never trust a reconciled adversary.
Other than the superb prose, there are some interesting notes here. I had no idea that the Easter Agreement that divided Ireland was signed under threat of British invasion! My God. Of course “Northern” Ireland is a fiction, a fantasy. Of course it’s a British colony. There is no “Northern Ireland” and “Ireland.” It’s all just Ireland. Come on.
And he is correct. Ireland’s birth scar is exactly this: the frustration over an aborted and uncompleted national revolution. Since the act was never consummated, the wound was never bandaged and hence will never heal. It will always feel like a frustrated project that demands completion. As he points out, “a birthright was stolen.”
And yes, Ireland was defeated. She got her independence but she was defeated nonetheless. A wound that the British have never bothered to try to heal.
The “grandchild” in the last sentence refers to Ireland today, the grandfather of the child being the Ireland of 1916. The “foul act” was the aborted national revolution. The “reconciled adversary” would be the UK.
I’ve always supported the IRA, but that’s a bit much for an Alt Left demand. Instead we should support the reuniting of Ireland and decolonization of one of the world’s last colonies, Northern Ireland.
The UN has been an American province for a long time. Let’s take after World War 2 for example. Sure, there was a UN. But from 1945-1960, the UN and the US were pretty much synonymous. Hence the pussilanimous and disgustingly murderous behavior of the US proxy called the “UN” in the Korean War. After World War 2, we had not only defeated all of our adversaries but most of our allies lay in ruins too. We weren’t running the world before the war – Germany and Pax Brittanica were vying for that honor – but we sure were after the war.
Some people think we allowed our allies to get destroyed on purpose so we could, in our usual slimy way, end up sidelining our allies and running the world, the World Dictatorship Ruled by the US being the main US project since 1945. I don’t know why Americans think it is groovy for the US to be this swaggering, belligerent, out of control outlaw organized crime gang that rules the world.
Do Americans really think that’s cool or something? Because that’s exactly what we are. We aren’t even a country. We’re an Outlaw Empire ruled by an Organized Geopolitical Crime Gang that happens to be the top gang in the world right now?
Anyway from 1945-60, the world was our oyster. Of course, we fucked it up like we fucked up everything. Even the Marshall Plan and the rebuilding of Japan reportedly had sleazy Mafia-like subplots going on. After that, we finally started getting some good hard pushback from China and the USSR (Thank God and it was about time!), first in Cuba, next with the Missile Crisis and the Gary Powers affair, and especially in Vietnam.
The cycle of anti-imperialist revolutions followed in Algeria, the Philippines, Indonesia, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, India, Guatemala, Peru, Chile, Palestine, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Dominican Republic, South Africa, Ireland, and Guyana. Argentina, El Salvador, Honduras, Mozambique, Angola, Rhodesia the Basques followed suit. Arab nationalist revolutions took Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq by storm.
The Shah fell in Iran in what was actually very much an anti-imperialist revolution. A revolution rocked Afghanistan.
But 1945-1960 were the America’s salad days.
The only country in Latin America where an actual US-style neoliberal system took hold along with the typical class-cucked citizenry that goes along with it is Chile, and the neoliberalism had to be put in at gunpoint by a vicious dictatorship that murdered 15,000 Chileans after a CIA coup overthrew the Democratically elected Marxist government of Salvador Allende.
Neoliberal scholars such as Milton Friedman said that neoliberalism in these places would always have to be enforced at gunpoint by a rightwing dictatorship because otherwise a majority would never vote for it. The admission that a majority would never vote for such a system ought to be a profound tell – how good could this system be if no majority in these parts of the world would ever vote for it?
After Pinochet left, the neoliberal culture continued, but really it only infected the upper 1/3 of the population who benefited from Pinochetism, while the lower 2/3 hated it.
Chile to this day remains one of the most unequal countries on Earth with class conflict and hatred so thick that it breaks out into street violence all the time. In recent months the country has been shaken by leftwing insurrectionist riots against the rightwing government, a logical outcome, but it was already like this somewhat for 30 years after Pinochet left. Chile is a place like the Philippines where the classes hate each other so much that they pretty much want each other dead, literally. The class hate is so thick you can cut it with a knife.
Neoliberalism also caught on somewhat in the UK under Thatcher and later Conservative governments, probably the closest to a US rightwing style government on Earth. Even long after Thatcher left, she caused such cultural change that the top 1/3 of the population went over to neoliberalism.
The bottom 2/3 of course did not (see Chile above – a 1/3 benefit, 2/3 are harmed equation is typical of neoliberalism), and Thatcher was burned in effigy amidst violent riots in the poorer urban areas when she died.
Thatcher was also an extreme anti-environmentalist, and it is not yet known if the Earth accepted or rejected her body when it was placed inside of its body. One wondered the same thing about Reagan, the vicious anti-environmentalist. When he died, I wondered, “Will the Earth even accept his body when it is interred?”
Neoliberalism caught on in Ireland, where it did the usual damage. It’s not known why the population opted for this.
It caught on in the Baltics because they hate Russia and Communism so much that they are almost psychotic. Of course, like all such people, the Baltics tend to be quite fascist. In an extreme reaction against anything slightly smelling of Communism, including the mildest forms of socialism, the Baltics went to extreme neoliberalism in a knee-jerk, unthinking way.
The more neoliberal a country was the more it got ruined by the 2008 economic crash (and the more socialist it was – like China – the more it was protected), and the Baltics were devastated by the crash. Latvia was hit worst of all. 1/3 of the population fled its ruined economy, including almost all of the educated and skilled classes. Latvia remains in neoliberal ruins to this day.
Russia went neoliberal under Yeltsin, who opened fire on the nation’s Parliament when it defied him, murdering 600 people, including many legislators. In 1996, the Communist Party actually won the election, but Yeltsin stole it with the help of the US and suitcases literally packed with cash.
Russia was stripped bare and sold for 10 cents on the dollar to the worst capitalists, mostly of a (((certain type))) with the help of bankers in Germany and in the the US, where a (((certain type of people))) also delighted in the looting of their ancient enemy (see (((Jeffrey Sachs))) and (((the Chicago Boys))), back for another round after the Chile debacle), 15 million people died premature deaths. and the nation’s paternity stolen by a (((venal capitalist ruling class))) that was indistinguishable from (((Organized Crime))).
The huge reaction against the neoliberal rape of the land was the main thing that brought the nationalist Putin into power to try to repair the damage and heal the rape victim.
Neoliberalism has been imposed in Europe and many other parts of the world via austerity via bankers and the IMF and the World Bank, but austerity was hated everywhere it was put in – in Europe, Latin America, the Arab World, and even in Africa – and it caused mass riots and even the overthrow of quite a few governments everywhere it was imposed. It was the violent reaction to this austerity that directly led to the Pink Tide in Latin America that US bipartisan foreign policy has now rolled back.
Yes, English has devastated most of the native languages of the Anglosphere, talking here about Ireland and the UK.
Welsh is still very much alive, spoken by 20% of the population of Wales.
Irish Gaelic is in fairly good shape. It will survive to the end of the century as will Welsh. There are still children being brought up in Irish. Irish is undergoing a renaissance with a lot of literature being published. Keep in mind it is an official language of Ireland. All Irish have to take 12 years of Irish in school but they don’t learn much and you ask them to speak a sentence in Irish 20 years later and they struggle. The way it is taught is quite inferior.
Scots Gaelic is in very bad shape with only 7,000 speakers but there are also second language speakers and I believe it is still spoken as a native language out on the islands. Gaelic is now an official language of Scotland.
Scots, very closely related to English but not English, is much more widely spoken by ~20% of the population. Scottish English is almost a separate language and it is spoken by about everyone. Scots is probably four separate languages. Shetlandic cannot be understood by other Scots speakers and is surely a separate language. Even inland, people in the south have a hard time understanding people in the north.
Cornish has been revived and there are 1,000 second language speakers. They can’t agree on an orthography and this is the subject of endless fights.
Manx went extinct maybe 50-75 years ago when a famous elderly last speaker died. He must have had no one to talk to. How sad. However, 2,500 people on the Isle of Man have learned Manx as a second language and are now Manx speakers. A few of them are even raising their children in Manx, so we may soon have Manx native speakers again.
New from Francis Miville.
Francis Miville: There was a reason why the Celtic cultural world crumbled and was ready to assimilate into the nearest conquering empire passing nearby. Gauls literally begged the Greeks to conquer them, and as they proved too self-interested as merchants, they turned to the Romans as to the second best choice long before Cesar came.
The Celtic world was more and more definitely with the centuries passing a culture based upon the preeminence of magic and of magic of a very malevolent kind. Druidic civilization was no fun at all. Celtic civilization was quite like the Brahmanical one in its worst aspects but without any encompassing universalistic cosmogony.
It was a universe without any power above that of the elite of all-powerful manipulators having been selected through proof of their psychopathic mind before being taught any bit of initiation knowledge. Above the stage of a mere brute, you spent your own life dodging evil spells and casting ones in return.
The only late exceptions which explain their further survival were Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany on both sides of the Channel. This is because it was rather the invention of something radically new by a certain kind of Christians together with a new kind of Celtic languages that bore very little relationship to the original.
But Celtic Christianity as it was called came to be later on considered as heretical from the point of view of more classical theology, as it was based on much magic too, though of a more seductive than warlike kind. In the case of Ireland and Brittany, the magicians proved to be oligarchically-minded to the worst degree as all magicians are. These magicians offered their services to the best payers, that is to say the Norman and French invaders. In exchange, the oligarchs were given as a natural resource the whole populace that the magicians controlled as a passive herd.
In Scotland the whole people succeeded as magicians to enter the British Empire as mafia-minded dominants of a worse kind than Anglo-Saxons proper, while playing a key role in the setting up of Masonry.
Magical cultures are all social horrors.
Zamfir: “Having a collective interest is not the same thing as a hard and fast identity like race, ethnic group, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or even religion.”
Okay, I didn’t understand that “identity” for you has to do with only these kinds of characteristics. But then I’d put it this way: Any group of people that share collective interests can have good reasons to organize politically in defense of their interests. It doesn’t matter whether the reason has to do with their “identity” in your sense or instead something less “hard and fast” such as economic class.
Because people who organize around more banal everyday political issues are typically not as insane and flat out deranged, homicidal, paranoid, hypersensitive and even genocidal as IP types? I mean do you see Democrats running around screaming about the Republicans “They hate us! They hate us! They’re out to kill us! We need to fight back!” Do you see environmentalists or pro-abortion people saying that anti-environmentalists and anti-abortion people, “They hate us! They hate us! They oppress us and dominate us! They’re out to kill us!”
Ordinary politics is not tribal like IP is. Few people would say they are member of a tribe called Democrats, Social Democrats, Bolivarians, Sandinistas, environmentalists, gun control activists, anti-free trade types, anti- or pro-immigration activists, liberals, workers, or poor or low income people? Hell no.
And the people in the paragraph above don’t scream, carry on, act paranoid, have a huge chip on their shoulder and accuse everyone of hating them all the time.
Haven’t you noticed that IP people are all insane? They all say my group is completely innocent and good, and we are being persecuted, oppressed and dominated by this evil other group. They’re all hypersensitive to any slights, always accusing everyone of hating them. They hate us! They hate us! They hate us! They’re trying to kill us!
And there’s often genocidal language, sometimes towards the hated group and other times it’s, “They’re trying to kill of us!” Often it’s “they’re trying to kill all of us…we need to kill all of them!”Haven’t you noticed that IP people are all insane?
They all say my group is completely innocent and good and we are being persecuted, oppressed and dominated by this evil other group. They’re all hypersensitive to any slights, always accusing everyone of hating them. They hate us! They hate us! They hate us! They’re trying to kill us! And there’s often genocidal language, sometimes towards the hated group and other times it’s, “They’re trying to kill of us!” Often it’s “they’re trying to kill all of us…we need to kill all of them!”
Before the Tutus slaughtered 800,000 Tutsis, the radio played non-stop that the Tutsis had just murdered the Hutu president and were organizing a war to kill all the Hutus. The solution? Kill them first. Remember Hitler said the Jews are trying to kill us all? Solution? Kill them first. Notice how the Israelis are always screaming that their enemies are exterminationist Nazi type anti-Semites? They’re out to kill us all! Solution? Oppress them, dominate them, wage war on them, kill their soldiers and their politicians, assassinate their leaders.
Can’t you realize that almost all of the horrible things that are going on today are all based on IP to some degree or another. In the ME, they are slaughtering each other over religion or even factions of a religion or even factions of factions.
In Turkey, this is behind Turkey’s war on the Kurds and their conquest and annexation of Syrian land to expand the “Turkish nation.” The ethnic cleaning wars of the Balkans were all wrapped up in IP. The Islamist insurgencies in the Caucasus, Turkestan, Thailand, Sudan, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Egypt, Nigeria, India and to some extent Syria and Iraq are Islamist jihads against the infidels; in the cases of Nigeria and Sudan, take exterminationist proportions.
The Hindu Buddhists wage an exterminationist jihad against the Hindu Tamils. The Myanmar Buddhists wage an exterminationist jihad against the Rohinga.
The Hindus oppress the Muslims of Kashmir and wage war on them. The Jews oppress the non-Jews of Palestine and wage war on them and conquer and annex their land. Muslims and Christians wage exterminationist wars against each other in the Congo. In Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire, Hutus, and Tutsis wage exterminationist wars against each other.
Saddam said the Persians were plotting to kill all the Arabs (and most Sunni Arabs still say that the Iranians are plotting to at least conquer all the Arabs). Solution? Kill the Iranians first. The Young Turks started their jihad against the Armenians by saying that the Armenians were plotting to kill all the Turks. Solution? Kill the Armenians. Similar things were said of Greeks and Assyrians. Solution? Kill 500,000 Greeks and Assyrians before they can kill us first.
Nazism was nothing but Aryan Germanic IP against non Aryans such as Gypsies, Jews and Slavs.
The war in Northern Ireland is a pure IP war.
Notice how all of these groups employ the IP extremism – “They’re trying to kill us all so we need to oppress/kill of them first!” Our tribe is 100% good, theirs is evil. We are defensive; they wage offensive war against us. They are haters and racists and we are not. They hate us! They hate us! They hate us! You hate us! You hate us!
Notice how paranoid they all are and how hypersensitive they are to any slight and how they all immediately accuse you of hating them if you even look at them wrong? Notice the insane, “They hate us! They hate us!” all the while when the people screaming about people hating them are horrific haters themselves. But their hate and racism/bigotry is good and justified and the other people’s hate and bigotry is evil. We just want liberation and to be free! They want to oppress us and dominate us!
IP turns genocidal and exterminationist or at least slaughtering quite easily.
John Engelman: Contrary to what Karl Marx said, for most people most of the time loyalties of nation, race and ethnicity are stronger than loyalties of class. The working class in the United States has always been more diverse than the working class in European countries. It is becoming more diverse with the influx of non whites.
To get class consciousness you really need a homogeneous working class. It helps if the working class is ethnically distinct from the upper class. In Scotland the upper class is English, or Anglicized Scottish. That is to say Scottish, but educated in England, and often speaking with English accents.
The clear majority of Scots vote for the British Labour Party. English workers are more likely to vote for the British Conservative Party.
The argument is circular in a sense because as you look around the world, generally what you see in most cases is an ethnically homogenous working class.
Would you describe the working classes of Latin America as homogeneous or diverse? They seem to be a mixture of White, Indian and Black and the mestizo, mulatto and Zambo mixtures, correct? Yet the diverse working classes down there have high working class consciousness despite their diverse nature.
Aren’t North African and Gulf countries fairly mixed between Blacks and Arabs?
Certainly in Arabia, lands with diverse working classes of Kurds, Arabs and Iranian working classes are all very left.
I believe Sri Lanka even with the vicious Tamil versus Sinhalese war, the diverse working class is leftwing. In Burma the working class is very left although there have been wild ethnic wars sputtering on for decades.
In Russia and other nations of the former USSR, there are many ethnic minorities, but the workers are still working class.
A recent exception is Ukraine where workers have gone radical Right. The former Yugoslavia is still very leftwing even after all of the ethnic conflict and even slaughter of past years. Spain’s working class is very radical despite an armed conflict in the Basque region and separatists in Catalonia. The different religions hate each other in North Ireland, but the Scottish Protestant workers are as class conscious as the Irish Catholic ones. Switzerland is divided between three ethnic groups – French, Germans, and Italians – yet it is a very leftwing country.
The extreme tribalism in Africa has not prevented the working classes from being class conscious.
Is the working class of England voting Tory yet? Or do you just mean that they are more likely to vote Tory than the Scots are?
Most workers in Europe, Arabia, North Africa, Africa, the former USSR, China, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Japan, South Korea, Nepal are the same ethnicity as the ruling classes of those places, yet workers have a high degree of class consciousness in all of those places.
The places where working class consciousness has been harder to develop were those that had a Chinese ruling class as in Philippines and Indonesia.
I think we need to come up with some better theories about the poor class consciousness of the US working class. If you are looking for examples elsewhere, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, the Baltics and Colombia are places with quite poor working class consciousness.
In Australia it is recent as US style conservatism is imported.
A similar trend is underway in Canada and has been since Thatcher in the UK. But the UK is in nearly a revolutionary situation. A lot of the working classes are militant and radicalized, while a lot of the country has at the same time gone Tory. When Thatcher died, there were anti-rich riots in housing estates across the land. Thatcher was burned in effigy in the streets. Can you imagine that happening in the US?
The recent riots in the UK also had a class undercurrent. I was dating a British woman at the time, and she told me that local storeowners who treated the community well were spared by rioters. Rioters focused on stores selling upscale goods to the rich. Many corporate outlets were also smashed.
She told me that a number of those outlets had a reputation for not paying taxes to the UK by hiding money offshore. She said the rioters knew who those companies were, and they were brutally singled out. Many outlets were burned to the ground. Can you imagine heavily Black rioters in the US having class consciousness like that?
The Baltics are a case of entire nations full of complete idiots who hate Communism so much that they went into an extreme overreaction against Communism and turned against anything socialist, left, liberal or mildly progressive. Fascist heroes including many Nazis with a lot of Jewish blood on their hands were celebrated. Communist parties were outlawed, and Russian minorities were viciously maltreated.
Radical rightwingers were elected in all of these lands, and Chicago Boys Friedmanite experiments were undertaken. The results were predictable. In the recent economic crash, the most neoliberal European countries were the most devastated of all. Estonia was eviscerated, and Latvia was almost wiped off the map. 1/3 of the Latvian population left the country, including almost all of the educated people.
The Philippines and Indonesian cases are up for discussion, but these are Latin American situations of a ruling class of a different ethnicity than the working classes holding forth brutally and anti-democratically over the people. In addition, the workers have little consciousness.
Taiwan has a similar legacy where extreme hatred of Communism resulted in being ruled by reactionary fascist anti-Communists for decades. There is a nascent Left now, but it has little power yet. The wealth of the country seems to have gotten in the way of working class consciousness. Probably the extreme anti-Communism helped too, as any working class movement could be quickly portrayed as Communist.
We have had a few conservatives posting here in the past few days. These are US-style conservatives, which are the worst kind of all. US-style conservatives are absolutely banned from posting here in any way, shape or form.
Conservatism means different things in different countries, so conservatives from much of the rest of the world (except Latin America and the UK) can continue to post. Even Canadian conservatives can continue to post, as I do not mind them. It’s not conservatism itself that is so awful. Almost every country on Earth has people who call themselves conservatives, and there are conservative parties in almost every country on Earth. But being a conservative just about anywhere outside of the Americas is more or less an acceptable position for me. I probably won’t like their politics much, but I could at least look at them and say that this is an opposition I could live with.
US conservatives and their brethren in the UK, Latin America, the Philippines, Nepal and and Indonesia are quite a different beast.
I have to think hard about conservatives in Eastern Europe, especially Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic. These fools had such a bad experience with Communism that they went 180 degrees in the other direction. I would have to see the positions of these conservative parties in those countries to see whether they would be OK or not.
Just to give you an example, Vladimir Putin is considered to be a right-winger, and his party United Russia advocates a politics called Russian Conservatism. Looking at the party’s platform, this is not only a conservatism that I could live with but one I might even vote for!
Conservatives in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and most other places in Asia are acceptable. The conservatives in the Stans, Georgia, Ukraine, and Armenia can be rather awful, particularly in the nationalist sense, but I will not ban them.
I dislike Indian conservatives, but I will not ban them.
Conservatives from the Muslim World are all acceptable. In the Muslim World, conservatism just means religious and sometimes nationalist. I can live with that. Even the ones in Iran are orders of magnitude better than the US type.
Conservatives in the Arab World are acceptable. They are mostly just religious people.
Turkish conservatives are awful, but I will not ban them. They are just religious and a particularly awful type of nationalist.
African conservatives are OK.
Conservatives in Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Italy, the Balkans, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania are sometimes good, sometimes pretty bad, but they are all acceptable here. Conservatism in Europe mostly means nationalism. I am actually rather fond of the conservative running Hungary, Orban. LePen conservatives leave something to be desired, but they are acceptable. They’re mostly just nationalists. Hell, I might even vote for Marine LePen! If it was down to LePen versus Macron, I would absolutely support LePen!
Conservatives from Indonesia, Nepal and Philippines are not OK. These are an “everything for the rich elite, nothing for anybody else” type of conservative. Some of them even hide under the labels of Socialist or even Communist.
The word conservative has no real inherent meaning. It means whatever people say it means.
Anyway, the conservatives in the US are pure garbage and recently they have become out and out fascists after moving in that direction for a long time. And a particularly horrible type of fascist at that, a Latin American/Filipino/Indonesian style fascist. I will not allow any US conservatives to post on this board. You all are lucky I even let you lurk here. That’s an idle threat as I can’t ban lurkers, but if they all stopped lurking, I would not mind frankly.
You all really ought to go back to the gutters you crawled out of.
PS This especially applies to Libertarians, the very worst of all the US conservative vermin. We shoot Libertarians on sight here, so you better watch out.
*This applies only to economic conservatives. If you are not an economic conservative, and your conservatism is only of the social variety or you are only conservative on race, religion, guns, law and order, respect for tradition, American nationalism, the military, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity issues, you can stay. I’m not crazy about some social conservatives, but I can live with them. I will probably even let patriotards post as long as they are not economic conservatives.
I am an American nationalist myself. I just don’t like patriotards. Of course, I very much dislike and even hate the country as it is right now, but I sure don’t want to make it worse! I have to live here too you now, and it might as well be as pleasant as possible as long I stay here.
I want what’s best for my country. I don’t want to harm this country or screw it over. That will be bad for me! And believe it or not, most US patriotards do not want what is best for the country! I have dreams of a greater and better America. It’s not impossible, but we will have to undergo some serious cultural changes. One of the reasons I am so against illegal immigration is because it is ruining my country and making this place even worse. Also illegal immigration is terrible for US workers and I am for the workers. I am against H-1B visas for the same reason – they are wrecking my country. IT workers are workers too, so they are my comrades. I want what is best for America and American workers.
I cannot live with economic conservatives. I like cancer way more than I like US conservatives. Cancer is much more decent and respectable.
In what countries is the language spoken in the capital different from the language spoken by the majority of people in the rest of the country? As you can see, there is more than one country where this is the case.
Some cases from the past include
Austria-Hungary, where the capital Vienna spoke High German but most of the people spoke Czech, Slovak, Venetian, Slovenian, or Serbo-Croatian.
In Ireland, before English became popular in the early 1800’s, most people around the capital spoke English, while the majority of the population spoke Irish.
I found nine countries, two in Europe, two in Southeast Asia, two in South Asia, one in Oceania, one in the Caribbean, and one in Africa.
Hop to it!
Capitalist Caucasian wrote:
Whites thrive under capitalism. Asians thrive under both, and blacks cannot thrive on any economic system, but totalitarian, authoritarian communism does the job of not letting a black society burn to shit. Like black Muslims, for example. Or the fact that some of the smartest, well behaved nigs are Nation of Islam members.
Not really true. Look at the 19th Century White world in the beginnings of industrialization and tell me things were thriving. Or the Potato Famine. Look at how the gangster capitalists have looted the Ukraine since 1991. Latvia went radical free market and the economy collapsed worse than the Depression and all that remains is a hollowed out shell. Estonia lies in ruins. Greece and maybe Ireland are disaster areas.
Europe was feudal until WW1, and Eastern Europe was feudal until WW2. The life expectancy in capitalist Albania in 1949 was 32 years. With the return to capitalism in Russia, there was an economic crash three times worse than the Great Depression, life expectancy collapsed, gangsters inside and outside the country stripped the place bare, and 15 million people died, more than Stalin killed.
Radical capitalists came to power in Chile and Argentina, two White countries, ran the economies into the ground and murdered 15,000 people in Chile and 30,000 in Argentina.
Capitalists caused all of these messes.
Whites don’t do so great under radical capitalism either. Nobody does. The thriving White world you are talking about is mostly not run by Libertarian neoclassical free marketeers. Most of those countries are run by social democrats who call themselves socialists and are members of the Socialist International.
Asians do well under well under capitalism? In 1949, China was ruined by war and warlords, the nation was under feudal rule, and life expectancy was 32 years.
Not sure which Asians you are talking about? Filipinos and Indonesians do not seem to be doing well under radical capitalism. The only real hardcore free market Asian states are Hong Kong and Singapore. All the rest are either socialist to some degree or becoming that way.
Blacks do pretty well under both Islam and Communism. At the very least, the resulting societies are orderly, well-behaved, calm and have little crime and chaos. Sometimes I think Black people need the “stern father” approach.
Good stuff. Freedom fighters resisting the British occupation of Ireland, just like the Palestinians resist the Israeli occupation of their homeland. The Irish people deserve the right to self-determination. The Good Friday agreement will never allow that, so it’s crap. The IRA often gives warnings for its bombs too, but of all of the armed movements of Europe, they’ve been the most hardcore. They kill young Catholic cops, apparently as “traitors.” That’s messed up.
Repost from the old site.
Two totally great Commie blogs – People’s Movement Support Group and Machetera .
PMSG is out of India with an emphasis on support for the Maoist revolutionaries in India along with the separatists in the Northeast (India’s armed Maoists tend to support the northeastern separatists), and it’s almost all translated stuff from the world press, but there is a strong emphasis on armed Leftwing revolutionary movements.
Thankfully, he is not a fanatic – he supports Cuba, the Maoists in Nepal and especially in India, the FARC in Colombia, the EPR and EZLN in Mexico, the MRTA in Peru and the NPA Maoists in Philippines. In Palestine, he supports the PFLP! What is interesting about this is that in many cases orthodox Maoists do not support non-Maoists like the FARC or Cuba or surely the MRTA on grounds that they are not Commie enough.
He also supports armed separatists in the Basque Country, Kurdistan, Ireland ( IRA), Sri Lanka and in India’s Northeast.
If there are leftwing maniacs anywhere on Earth with guns and bombs, he backs them up 100% (other than Sendero Luminoso). That’s some real consistency and style.
Living here in the US, one thing you notice right away is that almost every single human being you meet (who has an opinion on the issue) absolutely hates all guerrillas anywhere on Earth. This is true even for almost all US liberals, and even, incredibly, for many US Leftists.
The line of the average American is clear: All guerrillas are evil. They are all terrorists. In particular, Americans seem to really hate any kind of armed separatists or separatists of any type. This is kind of odd in that we were birthed via revolution, and there is no reason to fear separatism here as there isn’t any armed separatism in the US (or anywhere in the Americas) and probably never will be.
So Americans have turned into some of the biggest state-fetishists on Earth. Only the state can have guns. Only the state must have a monopoly on violence. All guerrillas are terrorists, terrorists are evil, and they all need to be killed to preserve the civilized world. All separatists are scum, states alone have the right to draw borders, and self-determination will never be allowed to anyone.
Death squads are fine and dandy, and every state is a democracy, no matter how murderous. The people never have the right to take up arms against any state anywhere, unless I guess it is Communist.
In other words, Americans have turned their backs completely on the noble spirit of the American revolution and have become the philosophical heirs to King George’s colonists. We have also become Israelis. They are colonists too. See any connections yet?
Machetera is definitely a blog after my heart. I get called a Stalinist a lot on here, but that’s not necessarily true. I do defend Stalin in some ways, mostly just to counteract the nonsense about “the biggest murderer that ever lived”, by pointing out the many great, humanitarian and life-saving things he did. He also killed a lot of people, and I think it many cases that was just plain wrong or even flat out evil.
Honestly, I would really prefer that we Lefties stopped killing people once we got into power. Other than the obvious moral questions, it has given the Right a gigantic shot in the arm by portraying us a the biggest murderers that ever lived. This has been so successful that many people around the world are frightened to let the hard Left back into power due to fear that they may start killing people.
So it is that I am a big fan of Castro’s Cuba, a place where the state has hardly killed a single political prisoner since 1970. They put a few in jail, but that’s not the same thing. By the way, I think the Cubans should go out of their way to treat the jailed political prisoners well, if only to deprive the anti-Commies of their propaganda snacks.
On the Majority Rights (careful – very nasty WN blog) blog a while back I was called a Castroite. That’s not a bad portrayal of me.
There is such a thing, and the Castroite philosophy, a Left, and sometimes an armed Left, that is particular to Latin America, is quite well portrayed on Machetera. So if you want to see what a Castroite looks like, head on over. They’ve actually long had conflicts with anarchists, Maoists and even some Trotskyites.
The Castroite philosophy could be best seen in the revolutionary movements that arose in Latin America in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Prior to that, there were a number of small bands in Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela that were wiped out. These were often influenced by Regis Debray’s flawed foco philosophy of armed revolution. Che’s fated project in Bolivia in 1966 is another example.
The ELN and the FARC in Colombia are very much Castroite (especially the ELN), with the ELN having a very strong Catholic liberation theology flavor. The FARC is probably a bit more rooted in an indigenous Colombian Left with roots in that nation’s particular history.
There are now branches of the FARC in Ecuador (FARE), Brazil (FARB), Panama (FARC), Venezuela (FARV) and Peru (FARP). The FARC extend all the way to Guyana, where they tax the gold mines. In 1984, the MRTA Castroites arose in Peru, but were eventually eclipsed by the Shining Path.
The Sandinistas of Nicaragua, the FMLN of El Salvador and the URNG of El Salvador and various small guerrilla bands in Honduras in the 1980’s were all Castroites, and the FMLN and the Sandinistas still have Castroite roots, though they have moved to the Right.
Chavez in Venezuela, Correa in Ecuador and Morales in Bolivia are very much in this special tradition.
There are many aspects to Castroism, and it is hard to put it down succinctly. Typically, many are Catholics and there is a lack of hostility to religion. They are less anti-Semitic than most Latin American Catholics (anti-Semitism is big in a continent with few Jews), in part because some of their leaders have been Jewish.
They tend to be much more pragmatic than Maoists, and are often prone to be called revisionists by the latter. There is a strong anti-Yankee and anti-US strain. The cult of Che Guevara is very important. The role of the peasants is very strong, but not in a Maoist sense.
The role of urban workers is somewhat important but not crucial, in part because the area is not well industrialized. But the industrial and professional unions are strongly supported.
There is a lacks of sexual puritanicalism that typified many existing Communist states. There is a significant de-emphasis on the Indian Question (while it is recognized nevertheless. This in contrast to Sendero, who raised the Indian Question to prime status. There is a very flexible ideology that often incorporates electoral democracy and mixed economies.
Class is much more important than race or sex, though the Woman Question is important. Female guerrillas often make up very large percentages of fighters, and in guerrilla ranks all aspects of Latin American machismo that oppresses women are banned.
Machetera is characterized by support for Cuba. Along the way, there are also shout-outs for Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Rafael Correa in Ecuador. The PFLP in Palestine have always had a fondness for Che Guevara and Cuba, and Cuba has long supported the PLO. Furthermore, she is a fine writer, witty and smart.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Neoclassical economics, or neoliberalism, has been failing for 30 years now. It blew up the US economy, and nearly took the world economy with it. It’s been 30 years of straight fail. Neoclassical economists have been wrong about everything in the past 30 years, yet their theories continue to control the commanding heights of society.
The neoliberals have tried to blame the economy they blew up on Obama. What’s the cause of the economic crisis. The failure of Big Government. Yet there was no Big Government under Obama. Government employment and spending actually fell from the levels of the Bush Administration you call that a stimulus?
The stimulus, although it kept us out of a Depression, was too weak to do much more. Further, 40% of the stimulus was tax cuts. Obama threw those in as pre-emptive surrender before negotiations even began in order to get Republican support, yet he still got only 3 Republican votes for stimulus.
Nevertheless, excellent economic analysis shows that the stimulus, weak though it was, did what it was supposed to do. It added nothing at all to the deficit. In fact, it actually decreased the deficit through increased government revenues, which again follows from time-tested and time-proven Keynesian economics.
The neoclassical frauds on the Right have been screaming since Obama came in.
His Big Government economics was going to lead to inflation! Inflation’s always been just around the corner. In fact, the main problem still is deflation. Even core inflation is at its lowest level in 50 years.
His Big Government economics was also going to lead to rising interest rates! Wrong again. The Fed rate is at near zero. It can’t go any lower. Bond rates move up or down depending on how investors feel about the likelihood of a recovery – Obama’s economics has had nothing to do with it.
Nevertheless, one of the two things that infuriated the corporate media the most about Obama was his stimulus. The other was his insurance industry friendly health care plan. According to media liars, these represented moves “too far to the Left.” The 2010 midterm results were voters punishing Obama being too liberal for enacting health care reform and a stimulus program. Truth is that voters were mad about the economy and nothing else.
Why was the stimulus hated? Possibly because as Keynesian economics, it represents a threat to the neoclassical lies that have governed the past 30 years. Similarly, the health care plan was a suggestion that Big Government could actually do something that the private sector had miserably failed at, provide health care for the American people. These two things were threats to ruling neoliberal discourse. That’s why they had to be demonized and killed.
Neoliberal frauds like the UK’s George Osborne were praising Ireland in 2006, while signs of serious economic issues were yet looming in the financial sector. Now Ireland is a gigantic example of neoliberal FAIL in the worst possible way. But Osborne was rewarded for being wrong. He is now the head of UK economic policy.
And he’s trying to implement Ireland’s horrible austerity policies in the UK. Rightwingers, including the execrable Osborne, spent the past year cheering Ireland’s horrific austerity. There’s nothing to cheer about. The Irish people will be ruined for the next 10 years due to this debt peonage, possibly for decades. The bankers’ losses will be balanced on the backs of the groaning workers far into 21st Century. The Irish people may not recover in my lifetime.
Economist John Quiggin has a new book out called Zombie Economics in which he talks about how 30 years of FAIL should have killed off neoclassical crap, but didn’t. Neoclassical economics is like the zombies in Night of the Living Dead who simply won’t die no matter how many times they killed.
Barack Obama praised the catastrophic Ronald Reagan for “restoring American dynamism.”
He has spent most of his first two years repeating neoliberal lies and catch phrases about economics. Worst economic downturn since the Depression? Obama said the solution is for the government to tighten its belt, and he froze federal spending and wages. Obama is hailing his tax cut plan as a stimulus that saved the economy, at the same time that he is already signing on to spending cuts which will negate any meager stimulus in the plan. By using language of neoliberals, Obama is empowering their failed ideas.
Rich Broderick lays out the case.
160 years ago, classical economics, the ancestor of the neoliberalism and freemarket fundamentalism that currently rules the globe, deliberately murdered 25% of the population of Ireland in the name of the free market, Smith, Ricardo and the rest. It was pure Milton Friedman Libertarianism that killed 1.5 million Irish people. Ireland, a colony at the time, would not recover from this disaster for 100 years.
It was a genocide as brutal and Pol Pot’s and nearly as brutal as Hitler’s Holocaust. But it was done in the name of economic theory, a theory which today rules the world, which makes it particularly tragicomic. Ireland was destroyed and 1/4 of its population was murdered, Pol Pot like, in the name of ideology. Free market ideology, to be precise.
Here it is, 160 years later, and the classical economists yet live. Classical economics, instead of being a peculiar aberration of Europeans, now sits astride the globe, having conquered the world in its name. Ireland will be destroyed once again by the rich, just as the rich destroyed it 160 years ago. Few people will die, but Ireland will be ruined just the same.
Here is what happened.
Ireland subscribed to neoclassical economics, the economics that says that you must lower taxes to the bone on the rich and corporations and take a completely hands off approach to regulation of business.
In this case, Ireland allowed a totally unregulated Wild West of the Banks. Wealthy bondholders on the Continent apparently made bets with bonds on these hazy banks, and then the banks went south, and anyone with any sense could have predicted. Logic would say that rich bondholders in Paris and Berlin made a bad bet on Irish banks, and as happens when you make a bad bet at the casino, they lost and need to eat their losses like everyone else.
The best thing the Irish could do is to do an Argentina and simply default on their debt. It would be bad for a little while, but Argentina was growing again within 6 months. They should leave the ridiculous EU along with Greece, Spain, Portugal and any other European country with any sense. The sooner the EU dies, the better.
Instead, the rich bondholders on the continent will be paid off for the bad debts.
Imagine if you got t to go the casino all you wanted to. You got to keep all your winnings, and every time you lost, the local poor and working people would be reduced to penury to pay you for your losses. Paradise!
This is the scam that the rich and corporations of the world, especially parasitic finance capital, are running on all the rest of us. They need to be congratulated. Good scam, good scam! It’s increasingly a war of the top 2% income earners of the world against all the rest of us. I’m not even sure that the upper middle class should be lining up with the top 2% like they always do, but I’m not sure.
Who’s side are you on? Do you make less than $250,000/yr.? Then you are in the bottom 98% that the top 2% has declared war on. Do you make less than $75,000/yr.? Than you are in the bottom 80% who surely have no business whatsoever making common cause with their class enemies in top 2% (the case of those making $75-250,000/yr remains to be decided).
Whose side are you on? Are you fighting for the interests of your class in the class war or are you fighting for the enemy against yourself and your own like a fool?
Bonddad states the obvious.
Austerity in an economic downturn has been tried before, and its results are quite reliable.
For instance, as I noted before, all of Europe was affected by the economic downturn caused by bankster criminal gang of parasitical finance capitalists in the US.
Most states cushioned the impact with stimulus spending (classic Keynesianism), the Baltics, which have adopted some of the most radical neoliberal policies on Earth lately as a reaction to their bad experience with Communism, instead opted for austerity. They were rewarded for this stupidity with economic depressions. Latvia was hit worst of all. The neoliberal head of the Latvian Central Bank announced his goal to reduce the wages of Latvians by fully 1/3. This is neoclassical economics in action. It calls itself austerity and fiscal responsibility, but its mechanism is just the same old class war.
This is also the agenda of the Republicans you dipshits just elected to Congress – austerity during downturns resulting in depressions and probably a desire to reduce Americans’ wages by a high % too. The Latvian government and the Republican Party are on the same wavelength. They are both pushing the same radical neoliberalism. By voting for them, you vote for austerity during a downtown, which will result in an economic depression. Is that what you want? If you want a Depression, then please vote Republican.
You’re also voting for mass wage reduction for US workers. Is that what you want? If you’re not a worker, if you’re a rentier or a business owner, wage reduction is the ticket. If you’re a worker and you want wage reduction, you ought to have your head examined.
Latvia now has 20% unemployment. The Republicans are pushing the same policies as the Latvians. By voting Republican, you vote for higher unemployment. Perhaps as a business owner, you don’t care about unemployment. But if you’re a worker, you must be nuts if you want to raise the unemployment with no upside in return.
Ireland engaged in austerity in order to keep investor confidence in the country so they could continue to borrow money. But all it did was make the economy, and the deficit even worse. Their deficit was 7% of GDP at the start of austerity, then after austerity it had ballooned to 14% of GDP. It failed even to reduce the deficit! The more they cut spending, the more the deficit exploded! This is one of the paradoxes of deficit reduction. In addition, the austerity caused an economic depression in Ireland.
The UK and Portugal have both admitted that the austerity measures that they are embarking on with cause economic downturns, and possibly recessions, in their countries. But they are going to go ahead and do it anyway.
Bonddad lays it out in a formula (italics mine):
Here is the GDP equation:consumer spending + investment + exports net of imports + government spending = GDP
So, if we lower government spending (which BTW has historically accounted for about 20% GDP for the last 30 years) we are lowering GDP by definition.
Bonddad makes an excellent point at the end:
There is a time to put the fiscal house back in order. When GDP growth is slow, unemployment is high, consumer spending is slow, the housing market is trying to recover and demand is soft, cutting spending is a really bad idea – as in probably the worst idea you can imagine.
I don’t necessarily have a problem with fiscal responsibility, and for some countries, sadly, it’s a necessity (3rd World debt crisis). But now is not the time to be doing this.
Also, the poor are poor for a reason. If you follow your liberation theology and gather resources for the poor through redistribution you’re shrinking the area of the pie from which everyone draws resources. Capitalists lose, some of the poor who become powerful in the new redistribution (i.e. community organizers and feminists) gain power, the majority of the masses lose as well because they aren’t smart enough to create jobs for themselves or make their own way without someone providing a job and capital for them to work with.
You want egalitarianism, but that comes at the expense of quality of life. So that everyone is equal you are willing to accept that everyone is equally poor.
This becomes an epistemological battle in that we are pitting the idea of socialism or social democracy against a relatively free economic model. People can choose for themselves what they want, and it seems that they usually choose economic freedom over egalitarianism.
In many social democracies, people are certainly not equally poor, and most Communist countries wiped out poverty, even if they only were able to provide a relatively low standard of living and the model bogs down and collapses over a period of some decades.
Surveys the world over show that most people want some kind of socialism. There are few exceptions, though the US may be one of them. Socialist, populist, progressive or Left parties rule almost the entire globe. Rightwing parties are in the minority or out of power in most places. The few places where they have power (the US, Chile, Colombia, Philippines, Thailand, the Baltics) they are busy destroying the country, just like they always do.
That’s one of your neoclassical lies. I just showed earlier how 12 of the 13 richest countries on Earth are all social democracies. Also many wealthy countries have low to very low Gini coefficients. Go to a place like Sweden, and you will be amazed at how many small businesses there are. Literally one on every corner.
The masses don’t lose. When you redistribute wealth, as long as you do not do so too radically, the masses gain tremendously in wealth, power, resources, benefits and rights. All neoclassical economics ever does is shift wealth from the bottom 70-80% of the population to the top 20-30% of the population. We have had decades of neoliberalism in the 3rd World, and this has been the result. Total failure. Which is why it’s being abandoned lately in Latin America.
The economies that are really kicking ass now are heavily socialist economies like Russia and China (state capitalist, corporatist or mixed economies). The economies that weathered the latest Capitalist Depression best used stimulus spending to come out of it and had heavy state intervention in the banking system. The ones that got fucked worst of all had followed neoclassical economics in their banks to the greatest extent (Iceland) or following neoclassical economics, used austerity instead of stimulus to deal with the slump (Baltics and Ireland) got fucked worst of all.
Laissez faire is refuted. Neoclassical economics doesn’t work. It causes wild booms and busts and leads to regular economic recessions and depressions. It’s only good for rich people because the purpose of it is class war and wealth transfer.
Uncle Milton engages in his usual sophistry as he shills for neoliberalism again. He’s been shilling for neoliberalism since almost the very day he showed up on this site, but he always denies it. Whatever.
…It was US government directed policy and willful neglect of fraud which help create the property bubble…As the Soviet Union and Latvia…why did they shift away from command economies in the first place…?
Here you call Ireland a social welfare state:
but now you blame their property bubble and implosion on neoclassical economics…?
Ireland was affected by the global financial crisis set off by neoliberalism in the US. UM continues to deny the obvious fact that neoliberalism caused the financial crisis, when it’s clear that it did.
Anyway, the neglect of “fraud” as you put it is part and parcel of the neoliberal project.
Yet it’s unclear whether the sale of mortgages to unqualified buyers and then repackaging the toxic loans to suckers as mortgage based derivatives was even illegal. Apparently it was completely legal! So there was no fraud at all, though there should have been.
There was fraud in the foreclosing of homes after the crisis hit, but this is not what caused the crisis. It now appears that up to 75% of recent foreclosures were deliberately fraudulent. The logical thing to do would be to wipe out the foreclosures and give these folks back their homes from the banks. However, the neoliberals are screaming that this will “destroy the US housing industry.”
Neoliberals always shill for fraudulent businesses, because businesses love to commit fraud. Fraud is pretty much what business eats for breakfast every day. Did you know the Chamber of Commerce opposes every attempt to write new business fraud laws and go after fraudulent businesses? Clearly the CoC loves fraud. Did you know that District Attorneys who aggressively pursue business fraud are almost always liberals and that rightwing district attorneys typically let businesses get away with murder? Did you know that in the US, rightwing administrations typically have by far the worst instances of fraud and corruption? The Reagan and Bush Administrations set new records for corruption and fraud in the Executive Branch.
Yes, Ireland is a social democracy. However, Ireland instituted neoliberal economics in order to deal with their deficit problems after the crash. Yes, social democracies are practicing neoliberalism. Sad, no?
The problem with Latvia was not merely “shifting away from command economies;” all of the Baltic states went totally overboard and embraced radical neoliberalism, possibly as a reaction to Communism. After the financial crisis hit Europe, many countries reacted with stimulus spending to cushion the blow (Keynesianism). All of these countries did well.
However, the Baltics and Ireland followed neoclassical economics and engaged in massive austerity cuts in the face of a major recession. They were rewarded with recessions and depressions, wage losses of up to 30%, 20% unemployment, capital and worker flight, and other horrors.
It doesn’t work. Neoclassical economics is the philosophy of economic destruction.
Have you noticed that practically all these neoclassical types do is lie? There’s a reason for that. Their theory is good for the rich and the upper middle class only, and it’s crap for everyone else. They can’t come out and say that, so they have to lie to the 80% of the population who is going to get screwed by their rentier and banker class philosophy and tell them that it’s good for them.
This is similar to the modus operandi of conservatism. As conservatism is always and everywhere a philosophy of the plutocrats that benefits them and some upper middle class folks and hurts everyone else, they can’t very well be honest about the nature of their class war project. This is why conservatives, everywhere and Earth and all down through the past, have always lied. Conservatism is dishonest because it must be. A philosophy that benefits the top 20% while harming the bottom 80% is going to be difficult to sell to the masses if you are honest about, although Americans may well just go for it, as they are just that stupid.
Analyses of neoliberalism in the past few decades around the world showed that it tended to benefit about the top 20% of society and harm about the bottom 80% of society. That is, there is a huge wealth transfer from the bottom 80% to the top 20%. It resulted in damage or collapse of health and education figures in most places where it was tried, and the resulting death toll is surely in the many millions. This is why so many nations have been trying to chuck it lately.
Even major ruling class organs like Time Magazine admitted that decades of neoliberalism in recent years in Latin America had largely failed.
Neoclassical economics killed 15 million people in Russia alone in the 1990’s.
Neoclassical economics has failed to lift people out of poverty. Peru and India have implemented neoliberal policies in recent years. After years of high growth in Peru, the poverty rate remained flat at 51%. In India, after 16 years of high economic growth, the malnutrition rate was flat at 51%. Neoclassical economics is trickle down supply side economics, and we all know that doesn’t work.
The neoclassicals caused the recent financial crisis that took out the US economy and nearly took down the world’s economy with it.
Neoclassical economics destroyed Latvia, leading to a 20% loss of GDP, 2/3 as great as the Great Depression in the US. Housing values collapsed, losing 70% of their value. Wages were deliberately collapsed by the neoclassical government. They deliberately reduced public sector wages 30% and are now trying to spread it to the private sector. So it appears that one of the goals of neoclassicalism in Latvia is the destruction of wages.
Hoover’s neoclassical economics only deepened and worsened the Great Depression in the US.
Neoclassical economics caused a depression in Ireland with 10% loss of GDP.
The top neoclassical economists, including Hayek and Friedman, went down to Chile and advised Pinochet on how to run his economy. They implemented the most radical experiment in neoclassical economics that has ever been tried. The result was one of the worst economic depressions in modern history. However, at the end of Pinochet’s term, workers had lost 1/3 of their wages, and there was a massive wealth transfer from the bottom 2/3 to the top 1/3. Hayek and Friedman both said that neoclassical economics was so bad for workers and ordinary people that the only way to put it in was via a dictatorship. This is why both Hayek and Friedman were huge cheerleaders for the murderous Pinochet.
The countries that got creamed worst in the financial crisis were those that had followed neoclassical theories in their financial system.
Iceland underwent possibly one of the most radical experiments in neoclassical restructuring of its financial sector. The result was that when the crash hit, Iceland was ruined. Its three largest banks went bankrupt, and there was a run on banks. Iceland itself was effectively bankrupt. The banking collapse was the worst suffered by any state in recent history.
The Icelandic stock exchange collapsed and lost 90% of its value. Sure, let’s privatize social security! If Iceland had privatized social security, your social security check would have lost 90% of its value. Instead of getting $1000/month, you would get $100/month.
The cost of the crisis exceeded 75% of the nation’s GDP. Since then, Iceland has been in recession, with a 5.5% loss in GDP, but it is expected to fall by 10%, meaning that Iceland will go into a depression. 500,000 depositors outside of Iceland could not access their money for some time. A giant German bank, BayernLB, nearly collapsed and had to be bailed out by taxpayers. Pensions collapsed and lost 20% of their value. Inflation is expected to run up to 75% this year.
Neoclassical economics is senseless. It’s the philosophy of the rentier classes who have been waging war on the Enlightenment for 300 years now. If you’re down with neoclassical economics, Libertarianism, austerity, balanced budgets and whatnot, you’re in bed for the forces of the Counter-Enlightenment beginning with Smith and Ricardo 200 years ago.
Recall that these are the folks who consider themselves the “natural rulers of mankind.” The Enlightenment was a move towards democracy and popular rule, and the rentier class has been furious ever since. What do the rich want? The rich do not just want to pay few to no taxes. This is a falsehood. They want much more than that. In my opinion, the rich actually want to be paid tribute! Notice that the war on Obama really picked up when he said some nasty things about rich people? That’s when the media war on him really opened up. It’s to be expected, as all of the media is owned by the rich. They don’t take kindly to insults. They’re still furious over the gunning down of the Romanovs 90 years ago. This was an insult that must be paid back in spades for as long as memory allows.
Want to fix the economy? The change needs to come from the private sector, not government. And if the private sector is frozen up and the banks are not making loans so the private credit market is dead, what then?
When the private sector is saving and not spending, there is a lack of demand and the private credit market is dead, then the state must step in. There’s a lack of money in the private sector, so the state must rectify that unbalance with deficit spending, stimulus, etc, in order to keep the economy moving, lower the rate of unemployment, take care of the currently unemployed, create jobs, etc. This deficit spending and stimulus must continue for as long as the private credit market is frozen and dead in the water.
Neoclassical economics is a joke. Neoclassical economics is what created the financial disaster that blew up the US economy, took down much of the world economy with it, and left us in the mess we are in.
Neoclassicals would have us engage in mass deficit cuts in the middle of a downturn. This is not economic salvation; it’s economic destruction. Look at the lesson from Ireland:
Ireland began cutting back deficit spending in 2008, when its banking crisis began to spread and its budget deficit as a percentage of GDP was 7.3 per cent. The economy promptly contracted by 10 per cent and, surprise, surprise, the deficit exploded to 14.3 per cent of GDP.
This is what will happen in every country that engages in deficit reduction austerity. The more you cut the deficit, the more it grows!
Latvia is the poster child for the neoclassicals. They want all of Europe, especially Greece, to follow the wonderful example of Latvia. Latvia undertook massive deficit reduction austerity cuts and the economy contracted a full 20%. Latvia’s central bankers are currently running a budget surplus. The idea behind this surplus: to lower wages. Neoclassical economics is always about lowering wages, everywhere and in any way. The public sector has already taken a 30% wage cut. Now they hope to spread that to the private sector. Property values crashed by 70%, and homeowners are on the hook for life, since there is no foreclosure in Latvia. And so we have the return of debt peonage. This is what the deficit hawks have in mind for most of Europe: Depressions, falls in GDP of 10-30% and wage reductions of up 30%.
This stuff isn’t even economics, or rather, it’s bad economics. More accurate, it’s politically driven economics. What’s the game here. Apparently a project by the rentier classes (neoclassical economics is the economics of the rentier classes) to roll back 300 years of the Enlightenment.
The lie is that the austerity is supposed to be produce “confidence” in the private sector. This is nonsense. Instead the agenda is political. To roll back social security, pensions, health, education and other spending on human needs, and especially to increase unemployment so much that it drives down the wages – the Latvian central banker was explicit on this. This is a logic of self-destruction. Austerity will lead to depressions, decreasing tax revenue and actually paradoxically increasing deficits. In Latvia, it has resulted in mass brain drain and capital flight as skilled workers and capital have fled the nation.
Clearly, the European nations are not pursuing the interests of the majority of citizens nor even of their industry. This again contradicts an essential axiom of neoclassical economics – that humans will always act in their own self-interest. What logic is there in the philosophy of economic destruction?
The reason is that neither politicians nor citizens are calling the shots anymore. Instead, as in the US, the bankers are. It’s as if we have an International Dictatorship of Bankers. Finance capital has gotten itself into a horrible mess by their own devices. In order to keep their game going, they operate the economy to benefit the banks instead of the logical alternative, running the banks to benefit the economy.
So the austerity measures are to rescue the financial sector. The only way to rescue the financial sector is through hammering social security, health care, education and workers and also selling off government property via privatization. The financial sector needs huge bailouts from the state to deal with the mountains of toxic assets that they are loaded up with. The state can’t loan the money. So the bad debts of the bankers must be passed on to workers and industry. This will be hard to sell to people, so the bankers sell it to us by saying that our poverty today will result in our prosperity tomorrow. Lots of people are buying it, as you can see in the comments section.
For 50 years now, the IMF has been imposing austerity plans on 3rd World countries. The results are dismal. It’s not a road to prosperity at all. It’s been 50 years of failure of the worst kind. It hasn’t benefited those countries one bit. Who has it benefited? Who knows? The 1st World, who bought up public assets in those nations for 10 cents on the dollar? If it didn’t work in the 3rd World, it won’t work here. 50 years of failure is enough evidence. What more do you need?
The party in power in the UK right now is called the Condems. It’s a cross between the Conservatives or Tories and the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems have the support of about 14% of the population.
The Tories ran on a platform renouncing the extremely unpopular policy of Thatcherism. Note that Thatcher was not able to push through much of her agenda. The wildest thing she tried to do was the poll tax, basically a regressive tax on the poor and working class, and the protests against that nearly caused a street revolution in the country. She’s probably the most hated British politician of the past 100 years, although she does have some supporters. I’ve always felt she had more supporters among conservatives here in the US than she did in the UK. Since the end of Thatcher, the Tories have been backtracking on Thatcherism and saying that they want to moderate their line.
The Lib Dems are some of kind new age, pro-environment, pro-gay rights, SWPL type party that’s also more to the Right of Labor on economic stuff, though not nearly as much as the Tories. Their main claim to fame was opposition to the war in Iraq. Their supporters are these hip yuppie types who make good money but don’t want to be associated with Tory assholiness. The Lib Dems basically hate the Tories, so this is a marriage made in Hell. Nevertheless, they are going along with the worst cuts to the British welfare state that the UK has ever seen.
I’m not sure what the rationale is for these devastating spending cuts in the middle of an economic downturn. Maybe someone more versed in British politics can enlighten me.
Spending cuts in the middle of a downturn is always a bad idea. All it does is make the downturn worse, and far from reducing the deficit, it often grows the deficit because the spending cuts harm the economy so much that tax revenues crash. Hence what we have seen in Ireland and Greece, the idiot countries who have tried to cut their way out of a deficit problems. Both countries made devastating cuts to their budgets, but the more they cut, the more the deficit grew! This is because, as I noted, the spending cuts wreck the economy, causing tax revenues to collapse, paradoxically worsening the deficit!
Anyway, for whatever crazy reason they have cooked up, the Condems are determined to go ahead with these cuts. But their rationale for doing them is truly insane. According to the Condems, by making massive cuts British state spending, they will somehow stimulate the private sector, and hence begin to grow their way out of the downturn. I’m not aware of any valid economic theory on Earth in which huge cuts to the state “stimulates the private sector.” Why would it? Unless it’s some whack Libertarian theory that doesn’t even make sense on paper.
Anyway, that’s the official rationale. As I noted, it makes no sense at all. Hence, it’s a lie. Thence, we wonder why they are cutting government.
They must be cutting the state for some sort of ideological reasons, or perhaps they have a deficit reduction agenda. Anyway, it looks like not only a bad, but an unnecessary idea. And they dressed it up in crazy clothes to sell it to the gullible masses.
White Christians are pretty much assholes, but it feels nice to have some sort of religion. In the Mediterranean or Hispanic Catholic world, most men will tell you that they are Catholic, then that they are not sure if the Bible is true, or even if God exists at all. But they are Catholic, dammit! I like this kind of religion. They just say they believe in it, leave it at that and don’t think much about it after that. It gives them some solace, but it doesn’t occupy their mind very much.
The Catholic Church I went to here in town was very “Jesusist” – all about the life of Jesus and the New Testament. The OT may as well not have existed. Also very pagan. The Mass is almost a a pagan ritual. The holy water and the idols that the Mexican pray to at the end are very pagan stuff. I like it! It’s good. Up with paganism!
I found the Hispanic Catholics to be among the most nondogmatic Christians I’ve ever met. Down in Latin America, everyone is Catholic. I think even most of the Shining Path was Catholic, including the leadership! They never renounced it either. Most of the FARC is Catholic too.
Catholicism is cool because there is a strong Catholic Commie (Liberation Theology) and social justice aspect to it. Probably the coolest form of Christianity out there. The Filipino branch is OK too. Most of the NPA are Catholics, and there are many active priests who work with the NPA. Up with Liberation Theology!
I don’t know about Polish Catholicism. The Irish are OK. Note how the Leftist IRA was all Catholic and Irish priests are in the forefront of social justice in the US. Polish Catholicism looks pretty bad. Mostly rank anti-Communism. German Catholicism is almost Nazism. French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Catholicism are OK, similar to the Latin American kind.
Of course Catholicism sort of ruins most Catholic countries. The Church can’t keep its nose out of politics, and most Catholic countries are insane on abortion, euthanasia and some other things. Still, I will take the Catholics against the wild free marketeer economic Libertarians of US fundamentalist Protestantism.
No way would Jesus be a follower of Milton Friedman. That’s why Friedman had to be a Jew. Milton expounded a theory that contradicted everything Jesus ever taught. But what has Judaism ever been but the religion that positioned itself as the antithesis of Christianity – the anti-Christian religion, the religion for those who found the humanist and moral demands of Christianity too much to hassle with?
It’s never been easy to be a Christian. That’s why so many give up on it, and say the Hell with it. But then it’s never easy to be a good person either, is it? It’s so much easier in a hyper-capitalist society to just be a caveman asshole and say the heck with it.
In the Middle East, most folks have a religion. Even the secular do. You just reach up from the sky, grab one, call it yours, and don’t think much about it again. Middle Eastern Christians are very similar to Catholics. They believe, but it’s no big deal in their lives.
Atheism feels totally miserable. I don’t care if it’s true. I want no part of this miserable philosophy.
Since the sound quality was so poor, I decided to make a transcript of this interview available for you all. Enjoy it.
Robert Stark: We’re going to be discussing California issues, how the states have changed, and how it affects trends facing the rest of the nation, but first of all, I came across this article on Robert’s site called Some Sensible Positions for Liberal Race Realists and White Advocates. Your first point is to amend the Constitution to get rid of the anchor baby thing. Very sensible position that most Americans would support.
Robert Lindsay: I don’t know if they could get it through Congress and pass it as a Constitutional amendment, but all White advocates should be supporting this move. It is a very reasonable position to take. My position is that White advocates should not be taking crazy positions – almost all of them are taking these crazy, loony positions like “freedom of association” that are simply never going to fly.
This move to amend the Constitution to get rid of the anchor baby thing is a reasonable position. Your average reasonable person, especially White person, says, “Sure, why not? Good idea.” The Left is trying to portray this as racism, but hey, let them scream! Because your average normal American, at least White people, and even some Black people, looks at this and says, “What? They’re calling these people racists? Because they want to amend the Constitution to get rid of these stupid anchor babies? That’s not racist, that’s just rational.”
Robert Stark: I think that even liberal European countries don’t give out citizenship to anchor babies.
Robert Lindsay: Some countries may allow it, but I think most of Europe has gotten rid of it. Ireland recently had birthright citizenship, but they just got rid of it. We’re one of the last countries around to have this.
Robert Stark: Ireland has only been getting a lot of immigration recently because of their economy.
Robert Lindsay: There has been a recent trend for at least White countries to get rid of birthright citizenship. As far as the rest of the world goes, I don’t know, but I would be surprised if there is much birthright citizenship. Most countries don’t agree with the concept. Why should you get birthright citizenship? If you’re born in some foreign country, you get citizenship of whatever country your parents are citizens of.
Robert Stark: Yes, it should be based on the parents.
Robert Lindsay: You’re still a citizen of some country! You have a right to be a citizen of some country in the world. If a female American citizen and I go over to…Peru and have a child there, why is that kid a Peruvian citizen? That kid is an American citizen. It’s born of American citizens. Despite the fact that we are living in Peru now, we are still just American citizens living in a foreign country.
Robert Stark: What are your thoughts on dual citizenship?
Robert Lindsay: I understand that there is a lot more dual citizenship going around than people think. I mean, the anti-Semites go on and on about US Jews being “dual citizens” of the US and Israel. But my understanding is that there’s a lot of dual citizenship going on here in the US and in other countries as well. Immigrants from many different countries the world over who are here in the US actually have dual citizenship – US citizenship and citizenship in their home country. So apparently it’s not just a thing with Jewish Americans having Israeli citizenship – they are not the only ones.
Robert Stark: I think the Israeli issue is not so much the dual citizenship – a lot of immigrants have that – the main thing is that many people in positions of power in the government and politics are more likely to have dual Israeli-US citizenship.
Robert Lindsay: The real concern is that, say, your average person who has Irish and US dual citizenship is not some sort of virtual agent working for the Irish government. Your average person with Israeli and US dual citizenship is practically an Israeli agent! And that’s the whole problem right there. That’s the whole problem with dual loyalty and the Jews.
Robert Stark: Yes, the dual loyalty is a problem. And due to multiculturalism, it’s tolerated, when we really should not be tolerating dual loyalties.
Robert Lindsay: Dual loyalty is a problem with Jews due to the nature of Judaism and the Jews. Most other ethnic groups are not so ethnocentric as the Jews so we don’t worry about dual loyalty much with them. But due to the nature of Judaism, Jews are loyal to the Jews first and their native land second if at all. That’s why this dual loyalty thing keeps cropping up with the Jews – it’s inherent in the Jews themselves. It’s not an anti-Semitic canard.
Robert Stark: Yes, it’s just how they are.
Robert Lindsay: With the Jews, dual loyalty isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.
Robert Stark: Your next recommendation is to avoid overthrowing civil rights laws. Can you go into detail about what some of these civil rights laws are?
Robert Lindsay: The White advocates want to get rid of all civil rights laws! Every White advocate I have heard of wants to get rid of every single civil rights law that we have on the books in this country. They hate the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They hate the Housing Rights Act, they hate the Voting Rights Act. They want to get rid of all of them and all anti-discrimination laws too. It’s true that Rand Paul is running for Senate now, and he agrees with that position, but nevertheless, that is a very fringe position to take. The day to get rid of civil rights laws has come and gone! The civil rights laws are here to stay!
Robert Stark: So you think that would be a very difficult idea to sell to your average person.
Robert Lindsay: Worse than that. It’s not going to happen! Those days are gone. That was maybe doable in say, 1980 or so…
Robert Stark: I think the real big issue is immigration…You’re critical of people who want to get rid of non-White immigration. Instead, you are calling for IQ tests.
Robert Lindsay: Yes, this would actually be a very interesting thing for White advocates to support. They were actually suggesting this in Germany. I don’t have any problem with that at all, but I don’t want it for spouses of citizens. If you marry someone from another country, they don’t need to take the test. But it’s a good idea, especially with these problematic immigrants. Some of these immigrants are a real problem.
Robert Stark: What groups do you see as most problematic?
Robert Lindsay: The Hispanic immigrants are a problem. Especially the ones from Mesoamerica. The ones from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras…And to some extent, those from the Dominican Republic.
Robert Stark: Is it because they are coming here illegally? Or is it legal immigrants as well who are a problem?
Robert Lindsay: I don’t think that all of the problem Hispanic immigrants are illegals. I would think that with Hispanics, the problem is IQ-related. If you said we are only taking Hispanics with an IQ of 98, which is the US average, therefore, all Hispanic immigrants, no matter how many you allow, are not going to cause an IQ decline in the country. I would imagine if you set it at 98 – your average Hispanic and their offspring who are causing problems – their IQ is below 98. The ones who are not causing problems, who are assimilating well, who act like you and me, their IQ’s are 98 and above. It’s a pretty good cutoff. It’s the dumber ones that are causing all the problems.
Robert Stark: How would this plan deal with the numbers of immigrants coming into the US? Do you think there should be a cap per country? Because right now, we take in I think almost 2 million people a year legally.
Robert Lindsay: Is it really 2 million?
Robert Stark: I think it’s maybe 1.5 million, but anyway, it’s pretty high.
Robert Lindsay: Sure, White advocates should advocate for a cap. 200,000, or 400,000…some kind of a reasonable cap.
Robert Stark: Isn’t this what Pat Buchanan has been advocating?
Robert Lindsay: I think that is a salable position. A lot of Americans might go along with that. And it really puts the pro-immigration, multicultural, PC crazies on the spot, because it forces them to say, “Terrible! They want to limit immigration to 400,000 a year! How awful! We need 2 million billion zillion a year instead!”
Robert Stark: As opposed to advocating for zero immigration, they won’t be able to play the card saying you are racist.
Robert Lindsay: Sure. You sound like some kind of a nativist nut if you say, “Yeah! We want zero immigration!” And it’s never going to happen anyway – zero immigration is not doable. Instead, you say, “Hey, we just want limits.” Then people have to stop and think, “Wow! 400,000? That’s a lot? How many do we actually let in every year, anyway? 2 million billion trillion zillion? Wow! Well, that’s way too many.” And it puts those idiots on the spot. They have to defend those insane high numbers as the only way to go, and they will have to say that those limiting immigration to say 400,000 a year are part of some evil racist plot, and that’s not going to work.
Robert Stark: And focus on the overpopulation issue as well. That’s important to bring up.
Robert Lindsay: Yes, I also wanted to say that in 1991, there was an amendment to the Civil Rights Act that dealt with something called “disparate impact.” And this, in contrast with the rest of the civil rights laws that need to stay, has got to go. Thing is, most people don’t even know what disparate impact is. No one’s heard of it, no one understands it.
But for instance the Ricci case, the firefighters case in New Jersey, was a case of disparate impact. Disparate impact says that if you give tests to a bunch of applicants, and the Whites pass the test, but the Blacks flunk at a higher rate, then there must be something wrong with the test. And you have to go back and redo the test or dumb down the test. It says that every time you have a racially disparate impact in any outcome, it’s always due to racism or bias in the testing, and that’s not necessarily true. Maybe the Blacks just could not pass the test.
Most people would be in favor of getting rid of disparate impact. And you would really put the PC idiots and the Black groups, etc. on the defensive because they would have to defend disparate impact and these crazy cases like the New Jersey firefighters, and most White people, and even a lot of Blacks, thought that case was an outrage. The goal is to push the PC-multicultural people into a corner and force them to defend things that sound really bad, and make us sound like the reasonable people. You see?
Robert Stark: The next one is getting rid of US colonies. I don’t think we need to go into too much detail here. It’s pretty simple, but in a nutshell, the US colonies are places like Puerto Rico and American Samoa. And they are big sources of immigrants. And because they can’t really be screened like foreign immigrants, they can simply come in in large numbers.
Robert Lindsay: Yes. They are unscreened immigrants, and they cause tons of problems. Our legal immigrants don’t really cause a lot of problems, to be honest, because we screen them really well. But the Puerto Ricans and the American Samoans can come here just like that. For them to come to the US is like you or me moving to Nevada. It’s like moving to another state. And it’s because they are unscreened that these groups cause so many problems. And there’s no reason to have colonies anyway!
Robert Stark: It’s ridiculous. We should let them secede. It doesn’t make sense.
Robert Lindsay: Why do we have colonies anyway? What are we, an imperialist country? Ok, we’re an imperialist country. Let’s have a conversation about this. Do Americans want to be an imperialist country? Let’s put these imperialists on the spot. Let’s force them to defend US colonialism!
Robert Stark: I think that Puerto Rico is a product of the Spanish American War. And I think the same with Samoa. So in a sense it is imperialism.
Robert Lindsay: I don’t know how we got Samoa. There’s also Micronesia, but Micronesia is not so much of a problem. But Micronesia is a colony too. We should not have any colonies. No country should have any colonies. And this is a Left position. Only the Left is totally principled on this position and says no nation should have any colonies. So by doing this, White advocates would be lining up with the hard Left, but that’s OK! Because the Hard Left takes a very principled anti-imperialist stand on this. Let’s force these elites to defend US imperialism! I want to see these guys on TV defending our imperialism and colonialism. You see, the Puerto Ricans and the Samoans and the rest don’t want to go – they don’t want independence.
Robert Stark: They want it both ways. They don’t really view themselves as Americans, but they still want the benefits of being American at the same time. That’s the problem.
Robert Lindsay: They like it the way it is. And if they become states, it is not going to be so good of a deal economically for them. But the way it is now, as colonies, it’s basically just a total scam for the colonies. But if they go on their own and become independent, they will probably just become ordinary 3rd World countries, and they will have a lot of problems as far as that goes. Why are we coddling these people?
Robert Stark: Another issue that is very important is schools. You are talking about these White advocates who are so fixated on Brown vs. the Board of Education, that it’s basically a done deal, and they are wasting their time.
Robert Lindsay: Brown vs. BOE is a done deal, right? Are they going to get rid of it? Even this crazy rightwing Supreme Court, are they actually going to get rid of Brown? It ain’t going to happen!
Robert Stark: So your main focus is on busing and that kids should just have to go to their local schools.
Robert Lindsay: Well, we shouldn’t say it’s evil or anything like that. “Oh! They’re busing Blacks into White schools! That’s terrible!” The main thing is that busing is just stupid. I mean, why are they doing it?
Robert Stark: And it ruins good schools. Like the schools I went to in LA public schools – they used to be decent schools, but they got completely ruined. And both the middle school and high school I went to were in fairly wealthy parts of LA. But they’ve both basically turned into ghetto schools through the use of busing.
Robert Lindsay: Well, sure, but I don’t want to say that because that sounds racist. Instead, I would just say that it’s a complete waste of money. And I would say that there is nothing wrong with a White school. They act like a White school is some sort of pathological thing. “Oh! Look at that school! It’s too White! Oh, we can’t have that! We need to make it half Black!” There is nothing wrong with a White school. It’s perfectly acceptable for a White school to be a White school and a Black school to be a Black school.
Robert Stark: The multicultural and diversity types, they use diversity as a code word for non-White. For instance, true diversity would be a school where each ethnic group would be say 20%. But on the other hand, they claim that 90% Hispanic and 90% Black is diverse.
Robert Lindsay: It’s ridiculous! The diversity thing has become like a fetish. I’m an integrationist, but we don’t need diversity everywhere. If some town is naturally a White town just because a bunch of White people went and moved there and few non-White people decided to move there, well, that’s OK! We don’t have to go fix it up by say, importing 20,000 Black people. If some town is naturally Black, well, that’s OK! Maybe a bunch of Blacks wanted to move there, and maybe non-Blacks did not want to move there.
There is nothing wrong with naturally segregated places, as long as it’s voluntary and we still have laws in place to ensure that anyone can go live anywhere they want to. And when you say that Blacks can’t learn in a Black school, and the only way that Black people can learn is if they’re around a bunch of White people, that’s very insulting to Black people. It really insults them. It says they’re inferior, and it’s a real burn on Black people. And I don’t know why Black people want to believe this insult about them. What’s wrong with a Black school?
Robert Stark: You’re right, that’s what busing implies – that Blacks are inferior, and they need to be around White people in order to learn. And affirmative action implies the same thing. Most of your proposals are pretty reasonable, but saying we support affirmative action? California, which is a liberal state, actually voted to end affirmative action. I don’t see how saying we support affirmative action would appeal to most of the public if the majority of people are opposed to it.
Robert Lindsay: Well, you could always say you support affirmative action but only if the non-Whites are just as qualified as the Whites. But the point is that that pretty much rules out most affirmative action right there! This was how affirmative action was supposed to be, but it’s never been that way.
Robert Stark: But that still is reverse discrimination against Whites – if they are equally qualified, choosing the non-White. I think the best strategy would be to have economics based on economics or geography. It would benefit a lot of middle class Whites in middle America. If you look at the Ivy League universities, they are really dominated by the ultra-wealthy and then a few slots left over for affirmative action. And this is your last point – say we have no problems with well-behaved Blacks who wish to fully integrate into White communities.
Robert Lindsay: Right, that’s a good idea, because almost all of these White advocate types are segregationists, and they push things like freedom of association. That’s what this Rand Paul is pushing. It’s not going to happen. You’re not going to get freedom of association back in where White communities can have housing covenants that say we don’t want any Black people, or we only want White people. Ain’t gonna happen. Ain’t gonna happen! Instead, we should say that if there are Black people out there who wish to move to our communities and are willing to assimilate to the values of our White communities and White culture – welcome to our city!
Robert Stark: Then you say that this will force the PC crowd into the dubious role of defending Black culture.
Robert Lindsay: Yes, because then they will say, “Oh! They only like White culture! Racists!” To that, we should respond, “We like White culture. We’re White, we like our culture. There’s good and bad about it, but we prefer our culture. And personally, we feel that a lot of Black people would be better off adopting White culture or assimilating to White culture than in getting into their own Black culture.” And then the PC crowd will scream, “They’re saying White culture is better than Black culture!” But your average person, especially your average White person, hears that and thinks, “Hm. You know what? White culture is better than Black culture!”
Robert Stark: The one point that we left out is to support the immigration of White Hispanics into the US. So, how is that really practical? You’re saying our immigration policy would have to explicitly address race, and do you think that would be practical?
Robert Lindsay: Well, White advocates are already saying that they only want White immigration coming into this country.
Robert Stark: What are the White advocates’ position on White Hispanics?
Robert Lindsay: They never discuss it. The only thing they say is that we will only accept immigration from Europe. And that’s never going to happen. We may as well branch out and say, “Well, we’d like the White Hispanics to come here.” Because then it would be a lot harder for the PC Left to accuse the White advocates of racism. “They hate Hispanics! They hate Hispanics!” And people would look at that and say, “Are you sure they’re racists? They don’t seem to mind the White Hispanics.” And then the PC Left will retort, “Sure! They like the White Hispanics, but they don’t like the non-White Hispanics!”
Robert Stark: They would still be able to play the race card, but it would cause division among Hispanics. It’s interesting, because on our last show, we were covering the Rick Sanchez incident. Rick Sanchez is basically White, but because his family is from Latin America, he takes this view that he’s somehow a minority, and it’s sort of our own fault, because in Latin America, the Whites down there in many cases are fairly racist against the non-Whites down there. But we classify everyone from the region as effectively non-White, i.e., Hispanic. It’s ridiculous.
Robert Lindsay: The White advocates in the US are almost all Nordicists. They don’t like the White Hispanics very much. They tend to label them as non-Whites. And the only Whites who they think are really White are from Northern Europe.
Robert Stark: Well, the first immigration act in the 1920’s was a Nordicist thing because it favored northwestern Europeans.
Robert Lindsay: It was, true. White racism in the US has always been Nordicist, but your average White person in this country is no longer a Nordicist.
Robert Stark: I think this Nordicism thing has pretty much died out…
Robert Lindsay: No, no, no…
Robert Stark: Because if you look at these pro-White forums, there are Italians, Greeks, or Eastern European descent, but you are personally into that Pan-Aryanism philosophy.
Robert Lindsay: It’s a good thing, Pan-Aryanism, because once you get into Pan-Aryanism, it gets harder and harder to call White advocates racists. Because the PC Left says, “Oh! They’re racist!” Sneer sneer. Then people say, “Hey, wait a minute. They like Moroccans, right?” Then the Left says, “Well, yeah, but they’re still racists!” Then people say, “Wait a minute. They like Syrians. They like Iraqis and Lebanese…” The Left says, “Doesn’t matter! They’re racists!” Sneer. Then people say, “Hey wait. But they like Turks. They like Armenians, Chechens, Iranians…”
Robert Stark: David Duke is into that Pan-Aryanism stuff, because he visited Syria and Iran, and he pointed out that he saw people who were so called Aryans when he was there.
Robert Lindsay: Well, we shouldn’t be saying that. We should instead be saying something like, “All Iranians are White.” We shouldn’t say, “Well, there’s a few of them who are real Aryans, but most aren’t.” Grumble grumble.
Robert Stark: All of them? Do you consider Ahmadinejad White?
Robert Lindsay: Yes! Absolutely. If you look at Iranians on a gene map, they’re right next to Norwegians, Danes and English. They’re White people! And if you look at them, they look White. The people I talk to are California racial liberals, but they almost all say, “Iranians? They’re White! They look like White people.” And if you talk to Iranians, they all claim White too. So this whole idea that Iranians are non-Whites is just kind of a fringe concept. It ain’t gonna fly.
Robert Stark: People assume that all Middle Easterners look alike, but there are some big distinctions. Someone from Saudi Arabia is completely distinct from someone from Lebanon.
Robert Lindsay: Well, yes, but I think Saudis are mostly White. Yet some of them, like Prince Bandar, he’s a pretty Black looking guy. Some of those Gulf types, they have so much Black in them that you can’t really call them White anymore.
One thing I wanted to go back and talk about on my list here. We need to get serious about throwing seriously disruptive students out of school.
Everybody wants to know, “What do we do about the schools?” For the whole White advocate crowd, and many ordinary Whites, the overarching racial question often is, “What about the schools?” The White advocates look at the mess in mixed schools and scream, “Re-segregate the schools! Black schools for Blacks! White schools for Whites! Get rid of Brown versus BOE!” Well, you know what? That ain’t gonna fly.
Robert Stark: I agree. The way you deal with these kinds of racial issues is you go around the race aspect by just dealing with people based on their behavior. And the anti-racist types, they’re still going to call you racist because they make excuses for bad behavior. But screw them. All we need to do is to say that students who are continuously disruptive should be send them to separate schools. And if they get their behavior under control, then they can go back to the regular schools. But it’s unfair for students who want to learn to have to put up with that crap.
Robert Lindsay: They’re destroying the schools. I hate to say it, but it’s especially true with the Blacks. There seems to be a tipping point of around 13% Black, and then things start going downhill. And just like Fred Reed said (I got this idea from him) when these Blacks start acting really bad, just throw them out! Throw them over to Psycho Kids Central High or wherever where they can screw off all they want. That is a completely reasonable position. Most people, especially most White people, would support it. I don’t know about Blacks, whether they will support it.
But once again, the PC crowd will be backed into a corner, and they will be forced to defend these students who act absolutely horrible, and just flat out destroy schools. They destroy Black schools, they destroy mixed schools, they destroy all kinds of schools. And in response to their charges of racism, we will say, “Well, it’s not just for Blacks. We will throw the bad Whites out. We’ll throw anybody out.”
Robert Stark: Yes, anyone. You can’t call it racist, because it’s a colorblind solution.
Robert Lindsay: And once again, we will force these PC characters to defend the worst acting, most horrible students in the whole country, total brats, that are destroying schools for everybody else. And that’s a terrible thing to defend. I want to see them defend that behavior. See, that’s a reasonable thing that’s actually doable. Getting rid of Brown versus BOE, getting rid of integration – those are not reasonable goals.
Robert Stark: Yes, these people, they’re just living in a fantasy. Like on immigration, they want to shut it all down, but in reality, we will be very lucky if we can even stop amnesty.
Robert Lindsay: Agreed. We probably can’t even stop amnesty. We can’t even throw these illegals out of here.
Robert Stark: Yes, we can’t even throw out the illegals.
Robert Lindsay: First things first.
Robert Stark: Practical solutions that are doable…
Robert Lindsay: I don’t think we can deal with legal immigration at all right now. First things first. First of all, we need to deal with illegal immigration, and we can’t even deal with that! These PC crazies want to legalize all the illegals, for Chrissake. Let’s deal with that first. Politics is the art of the possible. And these people, these White advocates, especially these White nationalists, they are advocating positions that are totally unreasonable. They are completely non-doable, fringe, ultra-radical positions. I doubt if these folks have the support of 5-10% of the population for these radical things that they want to do. And what’s the point of that? What’s the point of being a total loser? I don’t get it.
Robert Stark: Well, if you look at the new A3P Party, most of their platform is pretty reasonable stuff that sounds similar to the stuff that you’re advocating here.
Robert Lindsay: It’s a good idea! It’s a good idea to come across like a moderate. One of the goals of politics is to come across as reasonable and to force your opponent to take crazy positions and defend those crazy positions. Fine. Put crazy words in their mouth, and then make them defend them.
Robert Stark: These issues all tie together, but originally I intended to discuss California, and we still have a decent amount of time. To start off, we are both from California, and we are both originally from the LA area, and both of us have moved up to Central California. And Robert, can you tell us, what are the changes that you have seen throughout your life and that have happened to our state and what are some of the biggest and most negative changes that you have seen?
Robert Lindsay: Well, I’m not going to call for a return to White California. That’s an era that is done and gone. And I did not mind growing up in a multicultural California. When I was growing up in the 1970’s, California was about 70-80% White. It was 80% White in 1970, and it was 70% White in 1980. So it was about 75% White during that era. I spent most of my time in a White community, but I was totally comfortable with a California that was 25% non-White. That was normal to me, it felt good and OK.
I don’t have to live with all White people. We can have some non-Whites around. We grew up with the Mexicans. The Mexicans are a part of this state. They’ve been here from the very start. This state used to be a part of Mexico. The Mexicans – they’re part of the neighborhood!
Robert Stark: But the problem is the sheer numbers. Because the PC, Open Borders types try to say, “Oh, you hate Mexicans. You’re scared of Mexicans.” But most White Californians are pretty used to being around Mexicans. They’re part of the landscape. It’s not really an issue that they are here. Instead, it’s an issue of numbers.
Robert Lindsay: Yes, right. The Mexicans in this state assimilated really well back in the 1970’s. And now, there are a zillion of them, they’re not assimilating, and they’re causing tons of problems. And they were not causing tons of problems back in the 1970’s.
Robert Stark: You wrote that Mexican-Americans are assimilating into low class White culture.
Robert Lindsay: The assimilated Hispanics, the ones that are second and especially third generation, a lot of them are assimilating to a sort of a White trash culture. Like the lowest of the Whites, the worst of our people.
Robert Stark: I saw that a lot at the Wallmarts in Fresno. Not so much in LA.
Robert Lindsay: Yes, it’s not a good thing that a lot of them are assimilating to. One thing that I have noticed is that the Hispanics who have a deeper connection to Mexico – first generation immigrants and some of their children – now I don’t really like the illegals all that much, but we have a lot of them around here. But actually the ones that have a really deep and intense connection to Mexico, who are still into the Mexican culture, a lot of them tend to act pretty good. They have a tight-nit family structure.
Robert Stark: Yes, I noticed that when I was in a public high school in LA, the recent immigrants minded their own business, but there were others who emulated the whole gangta rap culture. They wore baggy jeans and listened to rap.
Robert Lindsay: Those are not the recent immigrants!
Robert Stark: Yes, the gangbanger types are children of illegals or in some cases, even grandchildren of illegals.
Robert Lindsay: Yes, they are the children of the illegals. And now we are getting into multigenerational gangbangers. But around here, the ones that are still deeply connected to Mexico, they generally act pretty good. They act like Mexicans, people from Mexico itself. They act like peasants.
If you go down to Mexico – I used to go down there 25-40 years ago – your average Mexican generally acts pretty good. They are conservative, traditional people, they have a very tight-knit family structure, and they keep a close watch on the girls. And for instance, the traditional Mexican girls, they don’t try to sleep with every guy in town. It’s dishonorable to be a slut or to be a prostitute and sell your body.
But I see these Mexican Americans who are assimilated, 3rd generation, and they start selling their bodies on the street and shooting heroin and just sleazing out to the max. And the ones around here that are deeply connected to Mexico, a good, proper Mexican girl, she won’t do that! To them, the worst thing on Earth is to be a whore. And, you know what? I’ve got to respect that. There is something valuable about that.
The family is often very protective of the girls. They have good, strong role models. The male has a strong role model. The female has a strong role model. The Mexican women are very feminine, they’re very nice to men, they’re very friendly. I don’t really have anything against the peasant culture of Old Mexico. There’s a lot to be said for peasant cultures. In many ways, they are good, traditional.
Robert Stark: You also said that you have seen the cultural decline of the White middle class. You wrote an article about that. Can you explain some of the things you have observed about the White middle class over time? They also seem to be assimilating into lower class culture and they seem to be getting less intellectual.
Robert Lindsay: Part of what is going on is the wiggerization of White people. Things are just getting a lot trashier. Back in 1970’s, White culture, if you had tattoos, you were considered to be a sleaze. Especially a woman, if a woman had tattoos…we knew women who had tattoos, and people hated them and treated them like they were whores. The only people who had tattoos were people like bikers or maybe Marines.
For a White middle class person, that would be considered a totally sleazy thing to do, to get a tattoo on your body. White people were supposed to be like these White bread, upper middle class, well-mannered types. Now, just about every White woman you see is decorated like a cannibal! They have all these piercings all over their bodies. I don’t want to put them down too much, but it seems sleazy to people from my generation. It seems as if there has been a trashification of our people.
Robert Stark: That sort of thing used to be seen only in lower class Whites, but now it’s seen in middle class people too. It’s due to the TV. People don’t value intellect so much anymore.
Robert Lindsay: Maybe, but White culture has always been anti-intellectual. You can go read Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life where all the way back in the 1950’s, he was talking about this sort of thing. I think that what’s going on is that White middle class people, especially young people, have decided it’s cool to look and act like a low class person.
Robert Stark: We have been talking a lot about race and demographics, but I would like to talk about the issue of the environment in this state and the over development and urban sprawl that the state has been seeing, and how both liberals and conservatives deal with this issue. It’s fascinating because liberals are promoting all this immigration, and business interests go along with them, but the conservatives – they’re apologists for this urban sprawl and this horrible overdevelopment.
Tom McClintock, who is this anti-immigration politician in the state…I knew this woman who was running for state assembly, and she was complaining about all of these tract homes going up in Ventura County, and his attitude was that they could do whatever they wanted to with their land. But I see that mentality as the same mentality as the people who are for Open Borders or defend job outsourcing. It’s really just as bad.
Robert Lindsay: Well, you see, he’s just a typical Republican. I don’t get the Republicans or the capitalists’ point of view. For instance, on housing, their POV is that…we have to keep on building houses? What? Forever? How long are we going to be building these units called “housing starts?” That can’t go on forever. We have to keep building new houses, new houses. And in order to keep building new homes, you need an increasing population. This is the whole growth-based economic mentality. And I don’t think it’s sustainable – endless growth forever. You can’t.
Robert Stark: So the immigration issue, it’s basically the same mentality. If you look at the places where the elites live like Marin Country or Malibu or Carmel, they’ve done a great job of conservation and low, sustainable growth with lots of open space there. They want to keep their own places beautiful. But if you look at the big money interests, they profit off an increasing population because that means more consumers. Some of these people are Democrats, some of them are Republicans, but it doesn’t matter. Instead, it’s just all about growth is good for making a profit.
Robert Lindsay: Endless growth. But isn’t that kind of crazy? Isn’t there ever going to get to be a point where people have enough money, and we don’t need to keep on growing forever? Apparently, you can’t have this endless growth without having endlessly increasing population. And more and more houses. And more and more cities. And more and more roads. And more and more everything.
Robert Stark: These neoliberal types, they say we need to keep bringing in more and more immigration as a way to grow our economy. It’s insane because it’s not sustainable, and you can’t have an economy that is based on that model.
Robert Lindsay: What’s going to happen? At some point, the whole world is going to look like New York City. What are we going to do? Are we going to start building cities on top of cities? Are we going to start building cities underground, or on top of the ocean, or under the ocean, or up in the sky? And this endless growth thing, it can’t possibly be an environmental position. If you’re an environmentalist, you can’t take this endless growth position. Why do we always need new houses in the US? I don’t understand why. Obviously because our population is growing, right? Are we going to start building second homes? Why does everyone need a second home? Do people need third houses? Do they need fourth houses?
Robert Stark: Or the size of the homes. They want these gigantic homes on one acre lots, and it’s wasteful of space. It’s not at all resourceful. And these same types – they claim to be fiscal conservatives and fiscally responsible. But this endless growth is not fiscally responsible because it’s very wasteful of natural resources.
Robert Lindsay: Those huge lots are not so great. It would almost be better to pack people into cities and then have big open spaces. But people like those big lots. I was living on a one acre lot up in the Sierra foothills. It’s not bad, there are still a lot of wild animals out there with 1-5 acre lots in the country, with those rural ranchettes.
Robert Stark: It’s fine if people have big lots up in rural areas or in nature, but the main problem is suburbia, which is a disaster.
Robert Lindsay: There are no living things anymore in suburbia. The only animals are the humans and their pets. There are a few animals that are adapting to suburbia – the raccoons, the skunks and the opossums. In some of the suburbs now, you have some coyotes.
Robert Stark: Thank you for being on, Robert.
Robert Lindsay: Sure.
Uncle Milton, an consistent apologist for corporate America, takes me to task for saying that the US practices the most rightwing economics of any of the top 10 richest countries on Earth:
Norway, Qatar, and UAE are wealthy because of a very valuable resource (oil) and a small population with a governing class that doesn’t steal from it’s citizens. Arguably Qatar and UAE are more right wing than the US. (You can be jailed in the UAE for failing to pay your debts, “immodesty” can be punished, foreigners when their job contracts are expelled rapidly, there is a clear divide between benefits for citizens and resident aliens…)What is really funny is calling Switzerland, Jersey, and Luxembourg more right wing than the US. (I guess it depends upon how you want to conveniently define right wing…) Corporate taxes are lower in all three than the US and the laws are more Corporate friendly. Basically they are wealthy because that’s where rich Europeans (and quite a few rich people from around the globe..) hide errr… ahem stash their money. Ireland also used to have some of the lowest Corporate taxes in Europe.. I don’t think Ireland is still that wealthy.. since it is going through a housing crises implosion that is worse than the US.
Denmark ranks number one in the globe as a place to do business by Fortune magazine…a notorious left wing publication. “Cough.”
I am talking about economic rightwing.I don’t care about social conservatism. I’m an economic man, a socialist, remember? I agree with Marx. Economics is everything.
UAE and Qatar apparently have extensive social democracies, unless I am mistaken.
Denmark has an extremely extensive social democracy. It’s wonderful to hear that Steve Forbes loves Danish social democracy so much. Do you think you could convince him to lobby for some Danish style social democracy in the US instead of campaigning to destroy every trace of social democracy that’s left in this country.
When Steve Forbes ran for President a while back, he campaigned on a promise to “zero out” social spending in the US. We have a lot of commenters who love capitalism and US corporations. Steven Forbes represents the corporations of America. He’s their man. When he says he wants to zero out US social spending, he speaks for US corporations. In other words, US corporations want to end all social spending in the US. Do you supporters of corporate capitalism in the comments agree that social spending should be zeroed out? If not, then why do you support the enemy (US corporate capitalism)?
Ireland, Jersey, Luxembourg and Switzerland all have very extensive social democracies, unless I am mistaken.
It’s really annoying to hear disgusting Zionist Jews, White nationalists and supporters of US capitalism denounce the source of wealth of other nations. Only rightwing US Whites can actually create wealth, apparently. How do they “create” wealth? I don’t know. Maybe they grow the stuff on trees?
All of these groups love to denounce the wealth of the oil states. They don’t deserve it, you know. They’re just stupid Arab Muslim non-White terrorist scum who got lucky and planted a country on an oil patch.
It’s also annoying to hear White nationalists and US rightwingers denounce the wealth of various offshore banking states and rich people hangouts. The niggers of Barbados don’t create any wealth, you know. Only rightwing US Whites “create” the stuff, by alchemy I guess. Barbados niggers are only rich because superior rightwing White US financial alchemists stash their cash there after they conjure up the stuff in plush labs on Wall Street or wherever.
Wealth is wealth. If you’re rich, you’re rich. No one cares how you got it, as long as it’s legal.
US style rightwing economics is based on extreme hatred of social democracy and state social spending. It’s the only country on the list that has that kind of rightwing economics. Most countries with the US philosophy are actually rather poor.
I seriously doubt if the laws protecting consumers, workers and the environment from the usual corporate abuse are more lax in Switzerland, Luxembourg than in the US. That seems like a highly dubious statement to make. They ride pretty hard on corporations in the public interest over in Europe.
Here in the US, we live in a shithole. Corporations get to do whatever they want, all the politicians of both parties are 100% corporate owned, and there is little to no limitation of corporations in the interest of the public, workers, consumers or the environment. For all intents and purposes, we live in a Corporate Dictatorship here in the US. It’s like a rich version of your typical 3rd World shithole.
I honestly don’t care about the rightwing capitalist obsession with “prosperity.” It doesn’t have the slightest thing to do with living in a decent country. All this prosperity hasn’t done a damn thing for me in my life, nor those who live around me. What good is it? These guys can take their prosperity and shove it right up their ass for all I care.
This is the 2nd part of Peter Tobin’s excellent essay, India and Nepal – Big Brother Little Brother. He is a fine writer and I am honored to present his work on my site.
This post is very long, running to 115 pages on the Web. Nevertheless, it is not a difficult read, as I have read it several times already. Still, it would be best to print it out and read it at your leisure.
This article deals with the recent history of India and Nepal in a manner in which most of us are not familiar.
He also ties in Indian nationalism with Irish nationalism and compares and contrasts the two movements. Tobin’s analysis is interesting for a Marxist, as he negates the notion that the IRA is taking a progressive stance in calling for the unification of all of Ireland.
Instead, he sees it as opposed to the progressive axiom of self-determination. A proper Marxist POV, says, Tobin, would be for Irish nationalists to allow the right of self-determination to the counties of Northern Ireland. He compares this reluctance on the part of Irish nationalists to Indian nationalists’ refusal to grant the right of self-determination to Muslims on the subcontinent, a fascist project that led the violent partition of India, endless war in Kashmir and a very hostile reality between India and Pakistan.
Hence, Irish national unification nationalism, like Indian national unification nationalism, is a fascist project as is the case with most national unification or nation-building projects, not a progressive or Left one.
There are many other interesting tidbits here. Tobin notes that the Hindutva movement actually has its roots in normative Indian nationalism and the Congress Party itself and such heroes as Gandhi and Nehru can be seen as Hindutvas themselves. That India has always dominated Nepal in a brutal and callous way shows that India itself, like Israel, must now be recognized as an imperialist power in its own right.
I made quite a few edits in the text, but for style, punctuation, grammar and spelling only.
1947 INDIA SPRINGS FROM THE HEAD OF MARS
Over the past generation India has shed its non-aligned status and has formally placed itself in the Anglo-Saxon camp. For a number of reasons, some of which I will outline below, it has become a fully active member of the ‘War on Terror’.
To a large extent this has laid bare that which was previously obscured by the radical rhetoric and sometimes practice of the Congress leaders of the pre and post independence movement: that is the phenomenon of a Hindu Great Power chauvinism which lays claim to the entire subcontinent including the Hindu Kush, the Himalayas and what is now Pakistan.
It was initially conceived in the first decades of the twentieth century by the nationalist ideologue Savarkar who introduced the concept of Hindutva (Hinduness) to describe all movements and parties under the umbrella of Indian nationalism.
It is there in Nehru’s Discovery of India written from 1942 onwards while interned by the British. Published in 1946, it formed the Hindu response to those who would challenge the territorial assertions of Indian nationalists. The extreme form of Hindutva can presently be seen in the murderous cretinism of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian People’s Party) founded in 1980 and now the second largest party in the Lok Sabha.
It is salutary to note that Modi, the leading BJP minister in the Gujarat regional government, personally organized the massacre of over 2,000 Muslims in that state in 2002. The BJP is also pro-American and committed to the neo-liberal project.
There is therefore no substantial ideological or political difference between the BJP and the CI Establishment in this claim to the entire subcontinent. What they have, they hold; where they don’t have control, they have consistently followed expansionist policies of economic and military penetration to achieve that end.
Following independence, initial animus was directed against what were held to be the pretensions of Jinnah’s Muslim League in claiming national rights based upon majority Muslim populations in the North West and East of India. Jinnah rightly claimed that in a few years he had turned:
Muslims from a crowd into a nation.
The emergence of Muslim nationalism provoked the Indian Congress politicians and ideologues into the corrupt, anti-democratic inveigling of a large chunk of Kashmir into the nascent Indian state completely disregarding the wishes of the vast majority of the population there for integration with their coreligionists in an equally nascent Pakistani state.
It reflects, like Irish nationalists in their continued refusal to accept self-determination for the Loyalist population in the six counties, their rejection of a ‘two nation’ theory applying on the subcontinent.
That and the seizure of Hyderabad began India’s first, but by no means last, war of aggression in 1948.
As the largest power on subcontinent, India has always acted with impunity in defending and extending its border and influence. Besides the wars with Pakistan which culminated in the dismantling of that state in 1972 with the detachment of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), it had the arrogance to launch a war against China in the Askhai Chin in 1962.
Its military caste, inflated with hubris inherited from its former imperial master, expected a walkover. The military ignoramus, Mountbatten, who had been parachuted into the high command of SEAC (South East Asia Command) in 1943 over the head of the more competent General Slim, through his royal connections, claimed that India had:
A magnificent army, a capable air force, and a good navy brought up by the British. Look at the terrain and tell me how the Chinese can invade. (sic) I would hate to plan that campaign.
The only correct statement in the above was that the Indian Army was a British creation; its officer class was comprised of Koi Hais (Anglo-Indian Blimps) who, emboldened by all their wars and particularly the walk-over in annexing Portuguese Goa in 1961, were gung ho for war against China. L’appetite vient en mangeant.
In the final event, their army was outmaneuvered, outfought and outclassed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, and the Indian government was forced to withdraw its troops and territorial claims which, significantly, were based on the British unilaterally imposed McMahon line. (Vide: India’s China War, Neville Maxwell, 1969.)
These territorial assertions were partly based on the fact that the Askai Chin is part of Kashmir, the whole of which Indian nationalists lay claim to, as detailed earlier, but significantly also on the basis that the new line was a secret provision of the 1914 Simla Agreement between the then Dalai Lama and Britain and followed upon the British invasion of Tibet a decade earlier. British historians euphemistically refer to this event as the ‘Younghusband Expedition’.
It was inspired by the adventurist Viceroy, Curzon, seeking to exploit the growing weakness of Manchu China by encouraging Tibetan separatism and to forestall the Russians from gaining influence in that region, reflecting the anti-Russian ‘forward’ school of Raj expansionism that had been evident in Afghanistan and North India throughout the 19th century.
The Chinese had never accepted this invasion or the agreement that resulted from it and which changed British policy, a policy which up to 1904 had recognised that Tibet was under the suzerainty of the Court of the Middle Kingdom. The emerging Kuomintang, from its progressive beginnings under Sun Yat Sen to the later years of the Bonapartist reaction of Chiang Kai Shek, upheld the ‘One China’ policy.
After China ‘stood up’ with the 1949 Liberation, there was even less likelihood of it accepting the spurious legacy of Curzon’s geopolitical cartography. It was not, therefore, as the deluded Mountbatten stated, an ‘invasion’ but a consistent policy of refusing to acknowledge imperialist borders aimed at fragmenting China. The Chinese Communists fought a defensive war against India in order to re-assert the acknowledged historical unity of their country.
Delhi’s aim of enforcing what had begun as a British land grab emphasizes how completely Nehru’s Congress government adopted the reactionary politics and territorial parameters of their former colonial masters. In this sense the war of aggression against the People’s Republic was not an aberration but was entirely consistent with India’s general expansionist policies on the subcontinent and particularly consistent with its attitude towards China.
A long standing animus towards the Communist country was previously seen in the comfort and aid given to the Tibetan Yellow Hat clique and their post 1914 attempts to secede Tibet from China.
Despite all the rhetoric of Third World solidarity that came out of Bandung in 1954 and the Panch Sheel (five points) agreement, where the two countries had agreed not to interfere in each others’ internal affairs, India allowed these separatists, fronted by the youth Gyatso, the Dalai Lama (a CIA creature then as now), a haven after the failure of their American-backed armed uprising in 1959 which the Indian government allowed to be organised from Kalimpong (Nehru himself admitted that the place was ‘a nest of spies’).
After the defeat of this Tibetan ‘Bay of Pigs’, they were allowed to resettle in Dharmsala, which was said to be the biggest CIA base in the world outside of Langley at that time. India essentially allowed the US to pursue its proxy war against China from its territory.
Its anti-colonial soul was further betrayed to a new, but equally expansionist, superpower, when Congress accepted its British inheritance from the instance of independence. For example, it took over with alacrity the policy of keeping Hindu rulers in majority Muslim areas; the British had pioneered this stratagem after the success of the first Sikh wars in 1846 in Jammu and Kashmir based on the principle of divide and rule.
Independent India inherited directly these petty princelings and through them disenfranchised the Muslim populations in those states.
Only lip service was paid to Gandhi’s pacifism. For years before his assassination, he had already been marginalized by the radical group around Menon and Nehru who were the real powers in formulating policy and strategy. Like the Dalai Lama, he has since become a saint to sections of a gullible, dim, historically ignorant Western petit-bourgeoisie.
Nehru put this more aggressive and hardheaded projection of the national interest very clearly in the Lok Sabha in 1959 in relation to the border dispute with China:
But where national prestige and dignity is involved, it is not the two miles of territory, it is the nation’s dignity and self-respect that becomes involved. And therefore this happens.
Yet he continued to delude himself, invoking Gandhi, that “basically we are a gentle people” who “emotionally disliked war,” that had been forced on them by the “warlike Chinese.”
The controversial but perceptive Bengali writer Chauduri, (Inter alia he argued that the Indians were originally Europeans who had been corrupted and denatured by an exotic, tropical environment.) in an acclaimed series of essays, saw through the hypocritical rhetoric, and penetratingly observed a few years after the war:
Hindu militarism is a genuine and powerful force, influencing Indian foreign policy…the conflict with China was inspired almost wholly by Hindu jingoism with the Hindu possessiveness as a second underlying factor. (The Continent of Circe, Niraud C. Chauduri, 1965. p. 107. Circe was a sorceress and weaver of spells from Greek legend.)
This bellicose militarism swept the country, reactivating the concept of the Dharma Yuddha (righteous war) but in a degraded and incompetent form. It demonstrated what a powerful force militarism had become since independence.
However the defeat in the Indian-Chinese War not only strengthened the position of the ‘capitalist roaders’ within Congress but led to one of the biggest defeats of the Party in the history of elections anywhere, when it was swept away in Jaipur in 1962 by a the victory in a ballot by the Swatantra party which championed the free market and was backed by business and many of the former princes.
It proved to be Nehru’s ‘last hurrah’ and effectively ended his political dominance. It was also the end of the experiment with socialism, and India began the sad trajectory that has culminated in its present junior partnership in transnational capitalism.
What this jingoist war did reveal was that the imagined form of an herbivorous Orientalized humanism could not conceal the real substance of a carnivorous and hegemonic bourgeois nationalism. The Gandhian hiatus was a thin varnish which tried to cover an historic Hindu martial spirit, that had as its ideological lodestone the aggressive ardor and warlike tales of the Mahabharata.
1950 INDIAN INTERVENTION IN NEPAL
This newly emergent Indian imperial policy can be clearly seen in the response to the crisis in Nepal in 1950 which saw an alliance of Nepal Congress and King Tribhuvan against the hundred and fifty year rule of the Ranas.
The Ranas were a feudal dynasty that controlled Nepal for that historical period. Unlike their earlier homologues, the Russian Boyars, they did not face a Ivan the Terrible until Tribhuvan, and they exercised a firm grip with a succession of Kings being more or less figureheads. After they seized power with the help of the British in 1846, they remained firmly allied to the East Indian Company and post 1857 Raj in defending British interests in Nepal.
It was the Ranas who facilitated the recruitment of Gurkha mercenaries into the British Indian army, for which they received a payment per head.
During the 1930’s and 40’s, Nepal was swept up in the growing and powerful campaign for independence in India, and there were attempts to set up a Nepalese Congress Party which drew support from primarily the Hindu populations in the Kathmandu Valley and the other major urban centers and from the Terai, which borders India.
The Ranas’ response was brutal suppression – activists were hung or imprisoned, and many driven into exile; principally to India, where they received asylum and support from the Congress Party and the government it subsequently formed in 1948. Nepali Congress was therefore launched in India in 1950 under the auspices of the Congress government.
It is of some significance that at its first conference, NC repudiated non-violence as a tactic in the struggle against the Ranas and began agitating for an armed invasion from India to coincide with an internal uprising in the towns and cities.
Though they were dependent on support from India, such was the situation in Nepal that they were prepared to take a position on the application of Gandhian passivity and its obvious uselessness to the Nepalese situation. The ‘saintly’ pacifist Mohindas consistently held firm to the principle of non-violence and had little sympathy for those who advocated armed struggle.
Thus he refused to intervene to save Baghat Singh, a revolutionary Communist who advocated and engaged in armed struggle, from execution in 1931. By his silence, Gandhi colluded in his execution. Gandhi also retained a dislike for the martial pretensions of Subhas Chandra Bose. For all his vaunted humanism, he was a social reactionary who resolutely defended the caste system.
This militant stand reflected the radicalism of the new born NC. Many of its early leaders, such as GP Koirala and his brother, BP Koirala had cut their teeth in the brutal struggles to establish trade unions in the jute mills of Biratnagar, Nepal’s largest industrial concentration close by the Indian border. GP became the first Prime Minister after the 1990 Andolan and remains an influential NC leader at the present time.
NC’s militancy was in stark contrast to the Congress Party of India which had undergone a process of embourgeoisiement and a growing attachment to Hindu chauvinism. This was reflected in its subcontinental strategy as regards to Nepal and similar neighboring states, as they were all considered as being within India’s sphere of influence.
The unruly Nepalese infant party was to find its interests subordinated to this world view, and this was clearly shown in the events between 1950/2. Nehru initially encouraged and assisted in preparing NC for an armed incursion into Nepal. The current Ranas, the Shamshers, were regarded by Indian nationalists as having been British clients and, as noted earlier, had proved ruthless in persecuting the embryonic nationalist movement. Nehru stated in the Lok Sabha in 1950:
In the inner context of Nepal it is desirable to pay attention to the forces that are moving in the world – the democratic forces, the forces of freedom and to put oneself in line with them, because not to do so is not only wrong according to modern ideas but unwise according to what is happening in the world today.
By late 1950, preparations for an incursion by the Mukti Sena (Liberation Army), as the armed wing of NC styled itself, were well advanced. Though its rank and file were mainly Nepalese, stiffened by a core of recently demobbed Gurkhas, it was largely officered by ex-Indian National Army Boseites.
That this was facilitated by an Indian Congress government demonstrated the schizophrenic attitude to Bose and his forty thousand strong Indian National Army (INA) recruited from Japanese prisoners of war. When they launched an invasion of India in alliance with their Japanese allies in 1944, their cry was ‘Chalo Delhi‘ (on to Delhi), the cry of the 1857 rebels. This consciously emphasized the continuity of the ‘long revolution’.
By declaring for armed struggle against the British, Bose repudiated the Satyagraha strategy (literal translation: ‘to maintain the truth’.) This was the name given to the program of civil resistance. Gandhi used this definition because he wanted to distinguish it from Thoreau’s concept of civil disobedience. That Bose allied himself with Japanese expansionism was a logical step; “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
It was the same conclusion that Irish nationalists, such as Pearse, Connolly and Casement, reached prior to 1916, in respect to Germany, and indeed a policy the rump of the IRA continued during the 1939-45 war. In respect to the struggle for Irish independence, this line of march succeeded in the years immediately following the 1916 Easter Rising and reasserted the physical force tradition over the parliamentary wing of Irish nationalism.
The charismatic Bose, however, while remaining on the margins of nationalist agitation and not able to shake the grip of the Gandhian Congress Party over the movement, nevertheless engendered, at least, posthumous respect for his patriotism and commitment. Such was his popularity with Indians in the closing years of the war that Gandhi and Nehru, albeit from different positions, were forced to oppose the British proposal to try ex-members of the INA. (Bose died in a plane crash in 1945 and so was beyond British lynch law.)
He became a hero, revered because he had frightened the British not just with the INA as a direct military threat but with the prospect that its very existence provided a mutinous pole of attraction to its own Indian Army. This reflected the nervousness evinced by the British that followed the first great War for Independence in 1857 with respect to internal security and, for example, was the reason the Raj refused to send Indian Army regiments to the Mesopotamia campaign in 1915 during the First War.
Eventually his martial spirit proved more attractive to Indians than the pacifist pieties of Mohindas. Satyagraha was replaced by Duragraha (to hold by force). The former, in the eyes of militant nationalists, demanded too much Dhairya (forbearance) in the face of the enemy. It was not surprising that Gandhi’s assassin, Godse, was a leading Hindutva militarist fanatic.
The incursion into Nepal from India succeeded in linking up with internal opposition forces, and within a month, the Ranas were destabilized. But India at this stage was concerned with stability on its border, and complete victory was snatched away from NC with India forcing a three way agreement between the Ranas, the King and NC.
The NP leader, GP Koirala’s, aim of a constitutional monarchy was dropped, and the issue of a promised constituent assembly was kicked into the long grass, Tribhuvan, his successor, Mahendra and the Indian government all reneged on it. Monarchical absolutism asserted itself, and within a few years the prisons were filled with Congress activists along with many Communists whose movement had grown since the founding of the CPN in 1949, a response to the failure of NC and its lack of radicalism.
The Party’s launch coincided with the first translation of the Communist Manifesto into Nepalese by its first leader, Pushpa Lal (also a veteran of the Biratnagar trade union struggle). The work had an immediate resonance among the radical intelligentsia, especially the sections on pre-capitalist social formations that were immediately relevant to the Nepalese situation.
In addition, there were the Manifesto’s political demands, many of which had already been achieved in developed bourgeois democracies, e.g. progressive taxation, free education and elections, which were revolutionary demands in the context of a authoritarian, feudal state.
In 1960, Tribhuvan’s successor, Mahendra, consummated this process by declaring an end to political parties and parliamentary government and instituting the Panchayaat system, a feudal talking shop convened under the King. This lasted until the first great Andolan in 1990 which relegalized the parties and reintroduced a Parliament complemented by, what was intended to be, a constitutional monarchy.
Thus for forty years, successive Indian governments did little to assist Nepalese democrats in their struggle against monarchical absolutism.
Nehru’s government had in fact used the crisis of 1950 to extract yet another unequal treaty, the first of which had been initiated by the British in 1816 with the imposition of the Sugauli Treaty, which made Nepal a captive market for industrial goods produced in India, followed by the later Nepali-India Trade Agreement of 1923 which created a ‘common market’ between the two countries.
The 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty extended that grip and gave the Indians monopoly control over Nepal’s commercial, industrial and finance sectors. This was reviewed every ten years, and the events from 1990 onwards have seen no change in India’s economic domination; it is presently estimated that 80% of Nepal’s industry and commerce is in the hands of Indian capitalists.
They also took over from the British the process of exploiting Nepal’s huge water resources initiated by the 1920 Sherada Dam Agreement and cemented by the further exploitation of the 1954 Kosi Agreement and 1959 Gandaki Agreement.
The Indian ruling class took further advantage of the 1990 upheaval to have all the Nepalese rivers declared a ‘common resource’ for Nepal and India in a ‘Joint Communique’ between the two governments. They added a qualitative twist in 1996 with the Integrated Mahakali Development Agreement which assumed control of the entire Mahakali River for India’s power and irrigation needs.
As Bhatterai, (now number two in the leadership of UCPN(M) after Prachanda) noted:
The Mahakali Treaty, however, has adopted a more devastating form of neocolonial exploitation and oppression by talking equality in theory but in practice ensuring monopoly in the use of water and electricity to the Indian expansionists and imposing trillions of rupees of foreign debt upon Nepal. (B. R. Bhatterai, The Political Economy of the People’s War, 1998, published in The People’s War in Nepal – Left Perspectives, editors A. Karki & D Seddon, p.128)
All of these agreements have progressively dispossessed Nepal of its greatest natural resource. They have particularly affected the Terai, the southern plains contiguous to India and Nepal’s ‘grain basket,’ in order to benefit Indian industrial and agricultural interests.
From the outset India has used its geographical, political and economic position over Nepal to ensure that its hegemonic interests predominated.
When it suited, they allowed Mahendra and his successor, Birendra, to expand and consolidate power, but when the latter attempted to take an independent position specifically by ‘playing the China card’ by buying and importing arms from the People’s Republic in the late 1980’s, they responded with a refusal to renew a trade and transit treaty in 1989 and effectively launched a economic blockade on Nepal.
This, on a country that by this time could not produce enough to feed its population, was devastating, and it caused tremendous deprivation in Nepal.
This crucially weakened Birendra’s Panchaayat and provided the nexus for the 1990 Andolan. (This was as important as the People’s War from 1996 to 2006 proved in creating the conditions for the second Andolan.) The thinking in Delhi with respect to the uprising was that Nepal was now so dependent on India they could manage and control any resulting democratic change as they had always done.
Not only was the major Nepalese party, NC, completely in their pocket by this time, but there was a growing Hindu comprador capitalist class which which would automatically respond to their influence without being urged to.
In the nineties and the first years of the new century they were content to allow the fledgling democracy under NC and its principal ally, the CPN(UML) to attempt to turn Birendra into a constitutional monarch. This changed when the PW grew in influence, and there emerged a strong connection with the Indian Maoists.
The crucial event which propelled them, yet again, to back monarchical despotism was the beginning therefore of the PW in 1996. There was a hitch with the murder of Birendra and his family, allegedly by the Crown Prince, Dipendra, in 2001. He somehow managed to shoot himself in the back of the head with an assault rifle and took two days to die. Thereafter he was referred a the ‘King in a coma’.
It has since emerged that the attack was carried out by an American trained special forces unit organised through RAW (cf. the CIA murder of Ngo Dinh Diem, the Vietnamese President, in 1963; of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1960; of Panama’s Torrijos in 1968; and the numerous bungled but hilarious attempts to assassinate Castro.)
It led to the accession of Gyanendra, who after 9/11 gave the US a pledge to reinvigorate the war against the Maoists, which Birendra had shirked, provoking American fury and his subsequent assassination. Gyanendra in return received armaments and dollars from the US. The fact that he could act autonomously in giving this assurance emphasized the crucial flaw in the 1990 settlement which had left the RNA subject to unilateral, monarchical control.
After a visit by Powell in February 2002 where this understanding was cemented between the Americans and Gyanendra, the Indian government found itself in a bidding war with Uncle Sam and their faithful British ally.
It was keen to see its previous influence restored with the belief that the Anglo-Saxons would undermine their former neocolonial control ceded to American interests and particularly their desire to encircle and monitor the growing power of China. The inclusion of the secular Maobaadi as ‘terrorists’ can be seen in this light.
The Indian government had been to the fore in supplying the regime with arms and logistical support. The supply of armaments was, however, suspended after Gyanendra’s dismissal of his government and the restoration of monarchical absolutism. Indian policy from 2002 onwards represented a break from the ‘two pillar’ strategy which supported both the parliamentary forces and that of the King. At the heel of the hunt, they did not care “what color the cat was as long as it caught the mouse.”
The reasons successive Indian governments had failed to make a objective evaluation of the Maoist movement related to the threat they represented to stability in the region and particularly their threat to abrogate such Indo-Nepalese agreements as the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950, the 1996 Mahakali Treaty along with all similar unequal treaties.
Also of significance to them was the Maobaadi’s networking with India’s own Maoists, which had finally led to the establishment of the Coordinating Committee of Maoist Groups in South Asia in 2001, creating a formal structure to expand revolutionary armed struggle in that region. It only confirmed Indian paranoia.
India had, from 1996 onwards, identified with the monarchy and the parliamentary forces, and along with the US, UK and Belgium poured in armaments to equip the growing Royal Nepalese Army, which by 2006 was approximately 70,000 strong. India provided 25,000 Insas combat rifles, the US 20,000 M16 carbines, South Africa and Belgium 2,000 machine-guns.
Britain further provided two Islander STOL (Short Take-off Or Landing) reconnaissance aircraft, which were adapted and fitted with 50mm heavy machine guns and 200mm mortar bomb racks which, along with two Russian M17 large helicopters, were used to massacre villagers in Maoist held territory as they gathered for political meetings.
The RNA was up against the PLA of 30,000 that had grown from half a dozen Maoist urban refugees which had gone “into the jungle” in 1996 armed with a couple of rusty Lee Enfields but which had built offensive and defensive capacity by expropriating arms and munitions from the police and the RNA.
The Indian government during this period abandoned its previous pragmatic policies which sought a stable Nepal. Their backing of Gyanendra and the reactionary parliamentary forces only exacerbated the crisis. The CPN(Maoist)s’ call for the ending of all the unequal treaties was not unique; it was shared by many in Nepal. The shrinking strata of national capitalists supported this policy as they resented the expansion of Indian domination of the Nepalese economy with the attendant rise of a comprador class.
On the question of solidarity among the Maoist parties on the subcontinent, the Indian government wrongly saw them as a monolithic and undifferentiated entity, which precluded them from showing any flexibility. Instead they resolutely refused to talk to the Nepalese Maobaadi. This was despite the fact the influence of CPN(Maoist) was on the rise (by the time of Jana Andolan in 2006 they controlled nearly 80% of the countryside).
If the Indians wanted a stability on their northern border, there was a necessity to engage with the Maoists at either a formal or informal level.
There is some evidence that CPN(M) recognised the strategic threat that India presented and were concerned that at some stage they would send in their army to forestall or overthrow any regime with pretensions to independence. They were also worried that the fall-out from 9/11 had placed them on the US list of ‘terrorists’ and were prepared to try and reduce their growing list of foreign enemies by exploiting contradictions among them and by attempting to detach India from the Anglo-Saxons.
To this end, the anti-Indian rhetoric of the Party was toned down in the few years after 2001 as they tried to establish some form of dialogue with the Indian government. They were comprehensively rebuffed.
India chose to stay aligned with the US, which regarded the Nepalese Maoists as a bloody and inflexible party; the US Embassy even raised the specter of a Khmer Rouge style takeover in Nepal. They accepted therefore Gyanendra’s argument that they should be included in the War Against Terror the US launched in 2001. What was significant in their inclusion was that the Maoists were secular and thus did not qualify for the nomenclature of Jihadist.
The Americans, with the acquiescence of the Indian government, therefore extended the original criteria to define a terrorist entity as where “…two or more people combine to threaten existing property rights.” This was a active policy which included US military ‘advisers’ training and equipping the RNA and flooding Nepal with CIA operatives.
Like the global phenomena of AIDS, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Avian flu, the Americans were everywhere in Nepal and so became hated by the Nepalese. I witnessed this first hand on both my visits to Nepal. They were so unpopular that many visiting American students used to stitch a Maple Leaf decal on their backpacks in a pathetic attempt to pass as Canadians.
Despite Indian worries regarding potential threats to subcontinental hegemony from outside powers, they looked on as the Americans and Gyanendra sabotaged the peace talks in January 2003 between the Maoists and the then Prime Minister Deuba. They even expressed anger at being marginalized by not being consulted beforehand by either of the two parties engaging in the talks exploring the possibility of peace.
The Maoists were acting in good faith, as they had long indicated a desire to ‘leave the jungle’ and enter the multi-party system.
Apart from suspending arms shipments, which by that time were surplus to the RNA’s requirement, they never seriously challenged Gyanendra’s suppression of all political parties in 2002 until 2005 when, alarmed at the growing success of the Maoists and the impact any victory would have in India, they relinquished the ‘Two Pillar’ policy in favour of the parliamentary parties.
Sotto voce they were equally perturbed at the growing US presence and influence in Nepal which threatened their traditional hegemony. At this juncture they ceased calling the Maoists ‘terrorists’ and facilitated peace talks between the seven parliamentary parties and the Maoists in India. It was obvious to them by now that Gyanendra was a busted flush.
How had a secular republic born in a bitter struggle against imperialism, within only sixty years, reached a fundamentally reactionary and chauvinist polity? This is I want to address in the next section – that and to contrast India’s weaknesses and strengths in the successful struggle against the Raj and the failure after 1947.
IRISH AND INDIAN NATIONALISM – A COMPARISON
The duplicities, antidemocratic maneuvering and aggression shown towards the Muslim League and Pakistan were underpinned by hostility to Muslim claims to self-determination wherever on the subcontinent they formed a majority.
Muslims were not granted any rights to a national identity, as they were seen as Indians under the skin (there is little racial difference) who needed to have their ‘false national consciousness’ stripped away to reveal their ‘true’ Indian identity.
It is very similar the ideological position that Irish nationalists use to deny Protestants in the six counties of Ireland a right to a national identity. Irish and Indian nationalists saw their respective Protestant and Muslim communities as settlements through conquest.
This concept of a national essence is bourgeois metaphysics; it falls into the category of historical idealism. From a materialist position, a nation is first and foremost an historically constituted stable community of people who share a common culture, language and mode of production from which arises a national consciousness. It is where an ideology becomes a material weight.
The other striking similarity between Hindu Indian and Irish nationalist assertions is the claim to hegemony over a defined geographical territory. In the case of the former, it is to the whole subcontinent, including the retaining arc of the Himalayas, and in the latter to all the island of Ireland.
In the case of the former, it arose from a determination to hold on to the territorial parameters established by the British and fortified by the ancestral Hindu belief that the ‘Land of Snows’ was in mystical counterbalance to the Gangetic Plains and Mount Olympus of the Indian gods.
For Irish nationalists, it was the myth that there had been an ‘historic Irish Nation’ prior to the arrival of the British. But the defeat of the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 by the armies of Leinster and Dublin effectively ended any maturation of the embryonic nation. Thereafter until the Anglo-Normans arrived in 1170, the island was a patchwork of petty tribal families engaged in semi-permanent warfare. It was these divisions which facilitated Strongbow’s incursion.
The failure of the Irish tribes to establish a recognized central kingship was noted four hundred years later by a Tudor agent, who reported to Henry VIII:
There be more than sixty countries inhabited by the King’s Irish enemies, where reigneth more than sixty chief captains, whereof some calleth themselves kings, some kings peers, and every one of the said captains makes war and peace for himself, and holds by sword and hath imperial jurisdiction, and obeys no other person.
That much is to the debit, and it exposes the ideological and political limitations of bourgeois nationalism, but it has to be set against the fact that whatever the negative features, the Irish and Indian struggles for independence were genuine anti-imperialist movements against their British imperial masters.
Each was an heroic and ultimately successful trailblazer for many subsequent anti-colonial struggles.
The tactics that eventually achieved the final expulsions of their respective British occupiers differed: the Irish, after the late 19th century parliamentary Home Rule campaign which collapsed in ignominy after 1916, successfully pursued a strategy of guerrilla war with the mass support of the agrarian Catholic population, while the Indian movement under Gandhi’s leadership pursued a policy of mass agitation and civil disobedience purportedly based on Ashima (non-violence).
Nevertheless, each of these national liberation struggles were bitter and bloody in strikingly similar ways. In the case of the former, for all the subsequent pacifist gloss emerging from the secular beatification of ‘Gandhiji’ about the campaign to drive out the British, we know that for every Robert Emmet, James Connolly or Kevin Barry there was a Mangal Pandey, Lala Lajpat Rai or Bhagat Singh.
The ‘Quit India’ movement organised at the height of the British empire’s life and death struggle with the Japanese Empire was no tea party. The notion that Congress achieved independence through nonviolence was a myth, fostered by the Congress Party and particularly Nehru to bolster his credentials as a principled international statesman working working for world peace and nuclear disarmament – India became a nuclear power post-Nehru.
There was genuine political and ideological support from Irish nationalists with the Indian struggle, a genuine sympathy with fellow anti-colonialists based upon the assessment that what the British first practiced in Ireland – famine, war, dispossession, exploitation, ethnic cleansing and genocide – they then visited on the rest of the World.
de Valera underlined that solidarity when he took George Washington’s words:
Patriots of Ireland , your cause is mine.
and in 1920 said that
the cause of Ireland is the cause of India, Egypt and Persia.
Fittingly he was an honored guest at the Indian independence ceremony in 1948.*
Stalin, the CPSU’s principal spokesman on the national question, noted the link between the two struggles:
Not only has bourgeois society proved incapable of solving the national problem, but its attempts to “solve it has inflated it and turned the national problem into a colonial problem and has created against itself a new front stretching from Ireland to Hindustan. (Marxism and the National Question, Tenth Congress CPSU, J.V. Stalin,1921, pp. 106/7)
In the postwar years, the two new states followed a similar domestic and foreign policy, and in this lay the seeds of their present vicissitudes. Early attempts by the Irish to develop an agrarian based economy free from dependence on British capitalism proved abortive. The endeavors of the newly elected Fianna Fial government of 1932 to pursue policies to protect and stimulate Irish agriculture and industry behind import taxes led to a tariff war with Britain.
This reflected the need of all newly independent countries, whether nationalist or Communist, to pragmatically follow the advice of the great German empirical economist, Frederick List. In opposition to the theology of Smith and his ‘hidden hand,’ he observed that newly emerging nations needed to protect their home markets and their fledgling home industries with tariffs against the predations of the existing dominant world economic powers of finance capital.
He further argued that the ‘visible hand’ of the state is necessary to stimulate and oversee the process. His prognostications led to establishment of the Zollverein, which drew the many German states and principalities into a customs union that laid the economic basis for Germany’s political unification in 1871.
Thus India and Ireland came to the conclusion that if they continued to allow unfettered access to their home market by more powerful and technologically advanced free trading imperialists, then so long would they be economically dependent, as they could not hope to compete on a level playing field.
In its own way, India initially followed List’s principles, with a socialist twist. Encouraged by the Congress leadership around Menon and Nehru, it launched a programme of nationalization and attempted to lay the basis of a planned economy with a series of five year plans.
Although they achieved a growth in GDP of 4%, it was not sustained, as there was no corresponding revolution in social and property relations as had happened in the Soviet Union and China, and which unleashed the energy and productive genius of their emancipated masses and led to the subsequent industrial take-offs in those countries.
As Lenin pointed out clearly and as was later developed by Mao, there needed to be both a cultural revolution and a radical transformation of extant property relations following the political seizure of power which involved the masses in a complete revolutionary challenge to the existing order.
The newly empowered Indian Congress government failed to grasp this post-imperial axiom, and thus the caste and the feudal land systems were left untouched.
In the intense political and ideological rivalry that existed between the two newly liberated countries of Communist China and Congress India, it was, however, the former who succeeded economically and lifted their people out of absolute poverty and immiseration with a commitment to the ‘cradle to grave,’ ‘iron rice bowl’ policy and by comprehensively taking the socialist road.
It was the Chinese Communists who saw that in Stalin words that:
…the national and colonial questions are inseparable from the question of emancipation from the power of capital… (Ibid, The National Question Presented, J.V. Stalin, p. 114)
It can be argued that in the final analysis, China has integrated itself into world capitalism, but its socialist, autarkic period up to the late 1970’s enabled it to do so on its own state capitalist terms.
Compare China, even in its Maoist period, to the squalor and degradation that the majority of Indians, both in town and country, continue to live in, and only a fool or a reactionary would not conclude that India has failed by any measurable criteria.
India, under the growth and influence of a bourgeois comprador class, has integrated itself into the economic neoliberalism of the Anglo-Saxon world.
Chaudari predicted with remarkable foresight this eventuality earlier when he wrote:
Working within the emerging polity of the larger Europe, the Anglo-Saxon can be expected to lay claim to a special association with India on historical grounds. In plain words I expect either the United States singly or a combination of the United States and the British Commonwealth to re-establish and rejuvenate the foreign domination of India. (Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, N.C. Chauduri, 1951.)
Later, in 1962, he observed:
In the fulfillment of their destiny the American People will become the greatest imperial Power the world has seen, and they will repeat their history by having the blood of the Dark Indian on their head as they have that of the Red. (The Continent of Circe, N.C. Chauduri, 1965, p. 85)
THE STRUGGLE FOR INDIA & NEPAL
This revolution has now reached India and here the minerals which it stands in need of are found for the most part in the territories of the aboriginals. Very powerful forces stand behind the movement: the policies, interests, money and technical skills of nearly all Western nations: and, above all, the all-consuming Hindu avarice.
All this in combination is breaking down the isolation of the aboriginal, threatening not only his security but existence. There is a Hindu push towards the wilds, which never existed before, and very large vested interests are being created for the Hindus in the homelands of the primitives. The white ants are on the march. (Ibid, N.C Chauduri, 1965, p. 76)
Given the failure of autarkism, India has increasingly adopted neoliberal economic policies, making India safe for international capital and expanding the wealth of the Hindu ruling class. This process was cemented during the 2006 meeting with Bush by the commitment of the Indian government where India agreed to ‘liberalize’ their economy by opening it to multinational companies looking for cheap labor and expanding the extraction of India’s natural resources.
Although as can be seen in the prescient quote above, notwithstanding that it was written in terms that would now be termed as passé or non-PC, the seeds were planted a generation ago. In doing so they have heightened the contradictions within Indian society and have led to campaigns of resistance springing up in opposition to a reactionary economic strategy enforced by state terror which is accurately defined as fascist by revolutionary Communists on the subcontinent.
In this respect the much heralded ‘economic miracle’ of the past few years is only confined to 10% of the population, mainly the city dwelling middle classes. It is based on hi-tech industries and insourced cheap labor through bilateral agreements for international companies seeking increases in absolute surplus value.
For the rest of the population in both town and country, living conditions have worsened considerably over this period. The majority of unfortunate rural Indians still eke out a primitive existence in Stone Age conditions. Most of these peoples live in conditions of deprivation, without regular access to decent nutrition, health care, education, clean water, etc.
The manic need of transnational imperialism to seize India’s resources to feed wasteful overconsumption in the developed Western World, as was noted earlier, has led to land wars against the indigenous Adivasis in India’s poorer regions like Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal, Madya Pradesh and Jharkand.
To enforce these policies, gangs of rightwing vigilantes, goondas, licensed by the regional and central authorities, are conducting what at best can be described as ethnic cleansing and genocide against these tribal peoples. The process noted by Chauduri in the 1960s has considerably accelerated over the past decade.
The three major parliamentary parties, CI, BJP and the CPI(M) or Communist Party of India(Marxist), are committed to expanding this reactionary program further, which can be clearly seen in the states where one or the other of them is in power. In Chhattisgarh, for example, where the BJP hold sway, there is an attempt to fast-track this process and allow voracious extractive monopolies to plunder resources following the dispossession of the tribal ethnics at the hands of vicious paramilitary Salwa Judum (Freedom Marchers, sic).
The only serious opposition to this neoliberal capitalist strategy are principally the Maoist groups, in alliance with the affected Adivasis, who are engaging in armed struggle in many states, forming a red belt that runs down the spine of India.
They have an armed presence in over 180 of the 600 departments of the country, and they have been described by the Indian CoS as presenting the ‘greatest menace to India’s internal security.’
The Indian ruling class is agitated by the threat of Maoists exercising any sort of power and enacting a radical programme in Nepal, which they have hitherto dominated and where their ‘mini-me’ Nepalese counterpart has so slavishly followed their path into even deeper reaction.
It is true that during the struggle against the King, culminating in his defeat, India facilitated peace talks between the Maoists and NP and the UML, which led to the Maoists declaring a cease fire. The alliance that arose between the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists worked to overthrow the monarchy.
The Delhi government, for example, released Guarev, a UCPN(M) politburo member, and its principal spokesman on foreign policy, so that he could participate in these talks. But the depth of the ongoing hostility to the Maoists is reflected in the fact that he was interned along with thousands of indigenous Maoists and tribal resisters, without charge or trial for three years, under the draconian State Security laws inherited from the British. These are the same laws under which they martyred Baghat Singh.
The motives for this temporary change lie not in India reconfiguring its policy towards Nepal but because they expected that the Maoists would not prove up to the task of operating within a multi-party democracy and would fail any substantial electoral test.
They were not alone in this assessment; internal and external observers thought the Maoists would come a poor third in any such contest. To some extent this was not entirely a complete fantasy, as in the 1994 elections an earlier incarnation of the Maoists, the UPFN (United People’s Front Nepal) failed to win a single seat in a contest where the UML emerged as the winner with 88 seats, followed closely by NC with 83 seats.
What went against their 2008 expectations was the fact that the inspiration brought about by the PW dramatically increased the electoral appeal of the Maoists among a critical mass of the population. So it was that the Maoists confounded all the pundits gathered in Kathmandu by winning 40% of the electorate and emerging as the single largest party, with NP coming second with 30% of the vote and the UML in third place with around 20% in the April 2008 election.**
The key to the present crisis is the refusal to accept that the CPN(M) had a mandate for change and this is what provoked the subsequent plotting against the Prachanda led government.
The Americans played a strong role in the orchestration of the anti-Maoist campaign. The US has steadfastly refused to remove the designation of ‘terrorist’ from them, unlike Delhi which had not used the description since 2002.
The US State Department reinforced this scheming with a recently commissioned survey on the 2008 election in order to undermine the credibility of the electoral success of the UCPN(M) by alleging that it was the product of brute force and intimidation. They specifically singled out the Young Communist League for vilification and cited their defensive campaign against Indian inspired and separatist agitations in the Madesh bordering India.
Although the Party honored its word given during the peace talks with the SPA and put the 30,000 strong PLA into UN supervised cantonments, it had in reserve almost 300,000 YCL cadre for the electoral battle which for a number of reasons proved crucial to electoral ascendancy. A prominent bourgeois journal claimed that:
The YCL is just another name for Maoist guerrillas not openly carrying guns. (An Armless Army, The Nepali Times, 20/27th April, 2007)
Their relative numerical strength in a population of just over 23 million is a reflection of the appeal of the Maoists to the youth of a country where nearly 60% of people are under 30.
This US policy parallels with their policy towards Hamas in Gaza which had, at the behest of the West, called a cease-fire in 2006 and similarly entered an electoral battle.
When it proved similarly successful, it was similarly rubbished, and the goals for lifting the isolation of Hamas were moved further away. Here too, the leadership of the US was determinate and expressed the message to those it still regards as ‘terrorists’ that “however you play the game – you will lose!”
‘WAVING THE RED FLAG’ – THE CPI(M) & CPN(UML)
I have covered so far the role that India has displayed in relation to Nepal. I have also tried to outline how the NCs’ development and present objectives either coincide with or are determined by this neocolonial power. I now wish to turn to the UML, ostensibly a ‘left’ party, and show how it came to campaign in this ‘orgy of reaction’ that saw the Maoists driven from power. Although it was precipitated by right wing Army officers, the final blow against Prachanda and the UCPN(M) was the UML’s withdrawal from the coalition government and subsequent open support of Katawal’s actions.
How did this happen?
That a Communist party should sabotage a left government committed to radical policies in alliance with internal and external reaction came, initially, as a shock to many.
Notwithstanding the fact that many of members I was privileged to meet were sincere, dedicated comrades and which made the critical analysis I eventually reached all the more difficult, though I was impelled to do so by a sense of Communist commitment.
What misplaced use of dialectics by the UML leadership led them to such a clearly reactionary pass?
Was it unique, or did it mirror the drift of the CPI(M) away from revolutionary Communism and a capitulation to a pro-capitalist position?
I will argue the latter; that each party reached similar political and theoretical positions and modified, or even abandoned, socialism under the dead weight of reaction on the subcontinent and beyond. Their mentors and paymasters are drawn from those sources.
I first got involved in Nepalese politics through GEFONT/UML.
In October 2005 I went to Nepal for two reasons; the first to trek up the Khumbu to Everest Base Camp, and secondly, as a Communist, I had become interested because the People’s War had been raging there since 1996 against the unpopular American, British and Indian backed feudal monarchy and the supine, corrupt parliament.
I did not have to go far to establish contact, as UML’s trade union wing GEFONT was organised at the hotel where I stayed on arrival (which was owned by the King’s sister) and I met their shop steward – who was also its Maître’d’. Through him I visited their head office in Kathmandu on the wonderfully named Putali Sadak (Butterfly Road) and there met Chairperson Neupane and other members of the executive, among whom were Bishnu Rimal and Binda Pandey, and their research and international officer, Budhi Acharya.
I found myself more at home than in the UK, where Communists have to work within a single Laborite trade union movement, the TUC. The Nepali trade unions are organized like their French counterparts, with the main political parties each having their own union centre. The Nepali Trades Union Congress (NTUC) was, for example the trade union face of NC. GEFONT, in this respect, has the same relationship with the UML as the CGT has with the PCF, although, unlike the CGT, GEFONT’s 300,000 members are also Party members.
I was particularly impressed that pride of place, in a very busy, comprehensive and dedicated research department, was given to a shelf with Progress Publishers‘ forty two volume editions of Lenin. I could not imagine a British trade union head office being so equipped. I had a similar frisson when I visited the UML office in Pokhara and saw, proudly displayed, on the wall of the Regional Secretary’s office, posters of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao.
The division between the two Communist parties is not parallel with the splits in the West: there is no anti-Stalinist crawling to petit-bourgeois liberalism or any reflection of the Sino-Soviet split in their mutual opposition. Trotskyism, as in any genuine revolutionary struggle in the developing world, has no purchase or relevance. Disagreements are fundamental and are not based on what Freud called “the narcissism of small differences.”
I was also struck by the wide range of activities GEFONT was engaged in; they were fighting battles against child labor, for literacy and numeracy programmes, campaigns to eliminate bonded labor (Kamaiyas), women’s rights, etc., battles which in the West we had long ago won. Alongside these endeavors, they were also occupied with the more recognizable free collective bargaining activities on behalf of diverse industrial and service groups that is part of our normal warp and weave.
In addition, health and safety is taken very seriously in a country where life is cheap, hard and short. For example: as a carpenter and ex-building worker for most of my working life, it was a shock to see masons and their laborers manhandling large blocks of dressed natural stone in flip-flops! The quality, however, of their tradesmen, including carpenters and joiners, was really outstanding, especially given the primitive conditions they work under.
The quality of GEFONT’S propaganda and research on this range of issues was excellent, detailed and exhaustive, equal if not superior to that of any UK union.
I was also informed that the following April, the population led by the SPA in the urban centre – principally in the Kathmandu Valley – together with the Maoists who were dominant in over 80% of the rural areas, were going to rise up against the monarchy by means of a nationwide Bandh in a repeat of the 1990 Andolan that had challenged Birendra. The fact that they could predict this six months in advance demonstrated how far and well the peace talks between the SPA and the Maobaadi, which were ongoing in India, were going.
I went home, but with my appetite whetted, and I resolved to come back the following April. I continued learning the language, studying its history and writing, and wrote what in retrospect was a naïve article which the Labour & Trade Union Review was good enough to print. In this piece I drew on the spirit of unity that was evident across the political spectrum and was particularly pronounced between the two Communist parties previously and literally at war over the difference in their respective strategies of armed or electoral struggle.
I also attempted to get my union, UCATT (Union of Construction, Allied Trades & Technicians), to establish fraternal links, but as with any labor organisation it balked at association with ‘Communists.’
I finally counted at least seven serious Communist parties, CPN(M) and the UML being the biggest, as opposed to the UK where the various organisations laying claim to being Communists amount in relative terms to three men and a dog, as opposed to these Nepalese parties which could count on the support of 60% of the population and which, if unity was maintained and developed, I opined, would make Communist advance unstoppable.
To this end, I went through dialectical contortions, arguing that the two principal parties, despite the profound differences between them over strategy, were each correct from the positions they occupied in a society where the unequal development between the urban and the rural was strongly pronounced.
Hence the UML flourished in the strong civil society of the towns and cities because they reflected the objective economic and political needs of the urban masses against the relatively advanced, though increasingly comprador, capitalist system which applied there. In any event, the Maoists proved surprisingly strong in the urban centers as the 2008 election showed. They even defeated the UML General Secretary of Nepal in the two Kathmandu seats where he stood!
The Maobaadi, advancing People’s War on the other hand, reflected those values of the rural masses in a struggle against a residual but still strong martial feudalism that had received a new lease of life from the backing of the Anglo-Saxon and Indian governments who advocated and promoted increased military repression against the ‘terrorist’ threat in the countryside.
That was then and this is now: with the alliance between the bourgeois parliamentary parties and CPN(Maoist) shattered and with the former backing the military against the political authority of the Prachanda government.
The UML support for the Katawal coup places them firmly in the camp of bourgeois reaction and counterrevolution. It provides a classic case that it is not what you call yourself but what you do that counts.
Neither is that position an aberration in respect of the UML but instead reflects a process that has been ongoing since the 1990 Andolan.
This was a turbulent period, with twelve changes of government in eleven years. The UML were enthusiastic participants in this parliamentary game and even provided a Prime Minister for nine months in 1994 with the UML General Secretary Adikhari replacing GP Koirala, the leader of an increasingly fractious NC.
This decade long charivari did much to discredit the parliamentary parties as more and more Nepalese became increasingly disenchanted with these displacement politics activated in lieu of necessary radical action. They had had high hopes that, following the success of the Andolan and the humbling of Birendra, Nepal would go through a transformation where the many problems that had gestated under the monarchy would be swept away with measures that, for the first time in Nepalese history, would favour the masses.
They expected programs to tackle poverty (Nepal is the 17th poorest country in the World), to deal with illiteracy, child labor and the caste system, to enact justice and equity for the Janjatis; of these, ending feudalism (especially on the question of land ownership) being the most prominent. It was also hoped this new democracy would expand and modernize Nepal’s lamentably underdeveloped infrastructure.
That these problems were not dealt with was not, however, solely due to the narcissistic political squabbling during these wasted years.
Another crucial factor limiting any room for a radical program was that from the launch of the ‘new democracy’ in 1990, GP Koirala’s NC government continued and expanded Birendra’s initiative in 1985, admitting the IMF and the World Bank as arbiters of Nepal’s economic and social destiny. These multilateral bodies are the economic arm of American imperialism and enforce neoliberal capitalist nostrums through the comprador class in whatever particular country they have either a foothold or full control.
The mechanism used is the euphemistically named the ‘Structural Adjustment Program,’ (I have retained the American spelling) which implements privatization and price-dictated market policies.
What semblance there was in Nepal of a mixed economy was dismantled; a process overseen by economic hit men dispatched there as IMF/WB enforcers. Thus subsidies on fertilizer, essential goods and services were abolished, and the few enterprises that were state controlled were privatized.
This meant that prices on such items as petroleum doubled overnight, causing tremendous hardship for the majority of the Nepalese people who were reliant on that commodity for domestic use and transportation. Privatization in its turn led to redundancies, closures, asset stripping and the slashing of wages and conditions for the employees kept on by their new masters.
This latter was carried out for purely ideological reasons even if the enterprise was a thriving, going concern. They were sold off at four or five times less than their extant value in the face of any commercial logic. It was similar to the legalized theft that was initiated during the corrupt, philistine Thatcherite period in the UK, although no scraps were thrown to the Nepalese masses as a bribe as happened there. All the plunder went either to Nepalese compradors or Indian capitalists.
The SAP also terminated the licensing system which had assisted those enterprises which were export-led and left them at the mercy of more powerful and developed external economic interests which have successfully penetrated the Nepalese market.
Also drastically affected were state expenditures in health and education. Even the minimum welfare provisions that did exist were reduced, and tariffs that protected Nepalese industries, particularly small scale manufactures, were ended.
These policies were enacted during the high water mark of triumphalist free market capitalism, and they were no different to those forced upon the countries of the former Soviet Bloc or indeed anywhere else the tentacles of this global octopus envelops. A similar breed of carpetbaggers to those that swept over Eastern Europe after 1989 poured into Nepal, with Indian capitalists to the fore.
In Nepal, as elsewhere, these destructive ‘Year Zero’ economics caused tremendous hardships for the respective peoples who fell under their aegis.
THE UML AND THE STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM
As has been noted, the NC government that took power in 1990 was an enthusiastic participant in the SAP, demonstrating the growing influence of a comprador bourgeois in its ranks. Politically and ideologically, it demonstrated that NC had become the Nepalese wing of CI.
How then did the newly formed UML respond to the SAP and its harsh effects on the mass of population? How did it respond to the phenomenon of globalized capital out of which the SAP stratagem emerged?
How did it address the fact that the dominance of international capital intensified the socioeconomic disparities between the developed and the developing world?
The answers to those questions reveal the crucial dilemma that lies at the heart of its political theory and practice and show how it occupies the same terrain already inhabited by its Indian homologue, the CPI(M). It also demonstrates the gulf between it and the CPN(M).
In regard to the first question, they did not fail to note the deleterious impact on the living and working standards of the Nepalese masses.
A prominent UML commentator summed up the results:
…the State after 1990 haphazardly followed neoliberal economic policy which did not actually suit Nepal’s constitutional vision and socio-economic reality. This produced a systematic race to the bottom dynamics, poverty, inequality, social alienation and political protest.
Analyzing the mistake of policy makers, a social scientist says – “The post 1991 governments, however, deviated from the welfare state and sought to create a subsidiary state where poorer people subsidized the rich and the powerful. It was actually the outcome of heavily increased pressure of Globalization in our national scenario.” (Challenging Globalization, World of Work, B. Rimal, 2005 p.214)
Given this recognition, what policies did the UML advance to oppose the negative effects of IMF/World Bank diktats on Nepal?
In this respect, I will concentrate on one major policy advanced in response to the demand of the IMF under the SAP for privatization of sixteen publicly owned enterprises, as it is indicative of the UML’s general politico/economic strategy. I will quote below from GEFONT policy statements, given that its policies are interchangeable with those of the UML.
In the first place, it acknowledges the role of transnational capital’s liberalization of the Nepalese economy but gives some role to the pressure from the indigenous capitalist class:
The business class, basically the big house bosses has high influence on the state power now. This kind of influence, although it was limited before 1990, highly expanded after the restoration of multiparty democracy. With a high volt emphasis on privatization after 1991, lobbying of big houses has increased manifold. (Study & Research, 2004, Section 14)
The principle driving this demand is that:
Instead of taking a long and arduous route for a new company, eases the prospective investors into a ready-made business enterprise. (Ibid, Section 4)
It also complains that:
With the blind and haphazard privatization of public enterprises, both production and employment have been adversely affected. (World of Work, 2005, p. 215)
However, this did not mean that there was a root and branch opposition to this reactionary program and its clear deleterious effects on Nepal’s people; instead, it promoted a policy of attempting to minimize those effects and making the process more efficient. The slogan therefore was:
Selective liberalization – selective privatization. (Ibid, p.47)
In other words; rather than the ‘blind and haphazard’ approach, it wanted one targeted on enterprises that needed ‘restructuring’ so they could compete better in the world market. So, for example, loss making, unproductive and technologically backward jute mills were among those where privatization was supported. It was even suggested that the Hetaunda cotton mill be added to the list; despite the fact that it had an adequate capital structure and modern machinery, it was ‘operationally inefficient’.
There was a complaint against privatization where enterprises were profit making and also when new private owners did not deliver the promised benefits or even where they were closed down; as in the case of an agricultural tool factory. They also complained where blatant asset stripping was evident, as in the case of the Bansbari Leather and Shoe Factory.
Generally they were concerned that the program, whether it showed successes or failures, had no provisions for either retraining or redeployment for the increased unemployment it created.
The most significant privatization that was supported was that of Nepal’s existing water utilities. The reasons given were that it was severely undercapitalized and operating with antiquated technology. It also had meager coverage of the country with 70% of Nepalese not having access to clean water. (This is one the principal causes of the high infant mortality rates.) I recall describing the privatization of our utilities, including water, in the UK as adding a qualitative twist to the legalized theft of all our nationalized and public enterprises and comparing it to the fate of Nepal’s water.
My GEFONT/UML comrades were extremely defensive and noted that it only contributed 15% of Nepal’s nugatory publicly owned industrial assets (which accounted for only 2% of the country’s GDP and 3% of its employment). Because I, along with nearly Nepalese, was swept up at that time in the spirit of the ‘Andolan,’ I accepted the argument at face value.
Later, in a spirit of ’emotion recollected in tranquility,’ it became clear that while it was an extant severely underdeveloped utility, it was perhaps Nepal’s greatest natural resource, with a truly massive developmental potential. Vide my earlier section on India’s long established recognition and exploitation of this resource through successive unequal treaties.
Furthermore, I noted that its commodification gave it an exchange value that overrode its use value as a basic necessity for all life, human or otherwise. It had instantly become a source of profit that devalued its crucial importance for day to day existence.
In the final analysis, however, the overarching criticism of privatization was that it was ideologically driven and not based on any economic rationality. The main reason that the entire program of liberalization was failing, GEFONT/UML argued, was because there was a failure to give an adequate role to the state.
It was argued that where SAP’s had been extremely successful, government intervention had played a dominant role, as in South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, where these programs had produced ‘high growth with equity’. (Ibid, p.47)
But these were singular exceptions in long established social and economic formations which were contrary to the anti-statist presupposition behind the neoliberal phenomenon which originated in the US and the UK during the Reagan/Thatcher years and was thereafter imposed on the rest of the world through the IMF, WB and WTO.
The state was, therefore, not a mechanism for solving social and economic problems; it was, as Reagan asserted, the problem. So the governments of developing countries were there to serve principally as facilitators of international finance capital.
This even applied within the imperial heartlands, as was noted by the Washington insider, Robert Reich, in his book, Supercapitalism :
Democracy and capitalism have been turned upside down.
In short, the political institutions of bourgeois society no longer regulate capitalism, but instead market forces regulate the political institutions. It is they who say what is and is not possible.
This naivete regarding prospects for the utilitarian state in the face of the dominance of monopoly capitalism ran through the UML like the print in a stick of rock. It informed their desire for tripartism, for industrial democracy, a mixed economy, Keynesian deficit spending and for an expanded welfare state when these have become anathema to the major world capitalist powers.
What they wanted was the type of social democratic settlement that had marked the postwar years in Europe until the 1970s, not realizing that this was a tactical contingency that Western capitalism had conceded to its labor movements and working classes not because it was some inevitable evolution of a humane economic consensus but simply to make the system more attractive to the peoples of the ‘Free World’ in the face of competition from a planned, ‘cradle to grave,’ full employed, socialist Eastern bloc.
America, while supporting this social democratic settlement among its European allies through, e.g., the Marshall Plan, was able to avoid these stratagems because its labor movement was comparatively weak, and its working class consciousness was underdeveloped and fragmented.
Therefore, despite the fact that the immiseration of the 1930’s was as pronounced in the US as it was in Europe, there was no equivalent pressure there to follow a similar course. This, plus the fact that the rapid expansion of its consumer culture began shortly after it switched to a fully employed wartime economy, as opposed to Western Europe where conspicuous consumption started fitfully and differentially, began a good fifteen or twenty years after the war.
What social change did come to the US as a implicit result of the existence of a USSR Soviet Bloc was in the granting of civil rights as demanded by a powerful national lobby, led by the NAACP, to the descendants of its black slaves. Similarly, the struggle against Apartheid only succeeded because of the direct support of the USSR.
With the gradual erosion of socialism following the de-Stalinization initiated by Khrushchev in 1956, free market capitalism began a process of reassertion. It was spurred on by the fact that the Keynesian solution to the problems of underconsumption and unemployment, which had distinguished capitalism before the postwar social democratic consensus, was coming to the end of its useful life as it had led to the rapid increase in the rate of inflation, creating social and economic instability.
Monetarism became one of the main free marketeers’ instruments for addressing this problem – a brutal policy of restricting the money supply would increase its value, not just by making it scarcer as a commodity in itself but by reducing government expenditures, specifically on welfare provisions. It also decreased overall consumption, although Thatcher’s regime added the additional measure of rolling back the hitherto strong British trade union movement that had flourished during the war and after.
It was, however, the suicide of the USSR in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Bloc that finally saw the end of this historically contingent postwar settlement. Capital now saw no need to keep its working classes mollified through the mechanisms of full employment and welfare statism. Social democracy proved to be a comparatively short hiatus in the history of capitalism and was replaced by the predatory neoliberal model which finds crude, brutal expression in contemporary world capitalism.
In the developing world, which had been drawn into the world market and where a growing proletariat is increasingly becoming the source of increased absolute value to expansionist transnational monopolies, the neoliberal model’s dominance could be maintained through either the neocolonial stratagems of creating and supporting comprador bourgeoisies in these super-exploited countries or by using the model’s superior military might either directly or indirectly by Western invasion or arming it’s comprador stooges to crush any progressive resistance to the hegemony of Western imperialism, or where necessary, an admixture of these modalities.
Iraq is an example of the former, Nepal of the latter.
The UML, like its sister party, the CPI(M), has not understood, therefore, that the social democratic dog has barked but the caravan of finance capital has moved on.
There is a similar naivete in the UML’s self-image on offering a middle way between the Scylla of capitalist imperialism and the Charbydis of Communist revolution. In this sense, its propaganda is replete with condemning the excesses of these oppositional forces, e.g.:
Today’s Nepal is in the quagmire of extreme Leftist and Rightist ideologies and, as such, (is) caught in the crossfire of violence and counter violence (of) these extremist ideologies. (Ibid , p.iii)
The “People’s War” launched by the CPN(Maoists), the Communist faction heavily marred with ultra Leftist thinking and terrorist activities, has been a serious concern of Nepali politics. The state is still under the control of reactionary and anti-worker forces. And the movement for the democratization of Nepali society still continues. (One Union, 2005, p.2)
The UML too thought that it could beat the Maoists electorally following the 2006 ceasefire and the subsequent April Andolan. In fact, it was humiliated and lost a third of its electoral support.
The UML has also promoted extreme military measures against the Maobaadi both before and after it became a member of Koirala’s NC government when it launched in the 1998 ‘Killer Sierra Two’ operation; a brutal army crackdown under the guidance of American and Israeli military advisers against the Maoists and their supporters over a more extended geographical area than Operation Romeo in 1996.
Throughout the period of the PW, it backed any repressive legislation against the Communist revolutionaries. Though still steeped in the idea of Communist opposition, the leadership was determined to play the role of a respectable parliamentary opposition, and the glaring contradiction gave it problems with its rank and file. It maintained this posture despite a drain of cadre who take their Leninism seriously which continues to this day. It has also led to a fierce debate withing the leadership.
The leadership’s re-branding has been described as an attempt to become a Eurocommunist style party and to move away from Leninist insurrectionist vanguardism. Gramsci, a great original Marxist thinker, became widely read among leading cadre. I was asked to send an English edition of Prison Notebooks to a Central Committee member, as it was difficult to obtain anywhere on the subcontinent. I was only too pleased to do so, and it made me realise how much we in the West take easy access to such theoretical works for granted.
The UML was attempting to give intellectual ballast within a Marxist spectrum as a means of justifying its embrace of reactionary politics. As was noted earlier, unequal development between the urban centers, particularly the Kathmandu Valley, and the countryside, particularly in the West where the Maoists flourished, was pronounced.
It meant that a strong civil society existed in the former, and therefore using a Gramscian conceptual framework was no mere fanciful affectation but could be accurately used as a tool of descriptive critical analysis.
The Maoists implicitly recognised how developed this urban civil society was. It was one of the reasons they modified Mao’s original PPW strategy in the context of Chinese conditions of “letting the countryside encircle the city,” realizing that any attempt to take urban areas by force would lead to a Pyrrhic victory at best and therefore a political defeat. The UML’s problem was the political line that was grafted onto this matrix that left it open to a charge of opportunism.
Whatever the new strategy, it steadily lost electoral support from the highpoint of 1994 when it emerged as the largest party with 31% of the vote, the biggest number of seats, and formed a short lived government under Man Mohan Adikhari, to the electoral humiliation of 2008.
The most crucial problem the UML faces is not its participation in parliamentary politics but its attempt to find a middle ground between two irreconcilable forces. In the developing world, the contradiction exists in its most antagonist form as the privileges of the Western World depend upon the increasing deprivation of the populations of the former.
War, famine, hunger, dispossession and superexploitation is the lot of the majority of the peoples in this Third World. The stark choice facing the twenty-first century is, to paraphrase Luxembourg, “Socialism or capitalist barbarism,” or as Arundhati Roy, the writer and activist, put it in relation to India, “either justice or civil war.”
There is no halfway house, and attempting to inhabit one will not only fail but implicitly gives support to a reactionary status quo.
It has also led increasingly to the UML, like the CPI(M), giving explicit support to, if not actually initiating, retrograde policies and stratagems. The Maoists have gone as far as claiming that the UML is in thrall to US and Indian interests, and that is borne out with its participation in the coup that provoked the resignation of Prachanda and the withdrawal of the then CPN(M) from government. It openly backed the CoS, Katawal, with one of its rewards being the installing of UML leader as Prime Minister.
What is also illustrative of the UML’s subservience to Indian interests is the failure to ever criticize the policies of successive Delhi governments. I have previously detailed, for example, how Indian administrations have used their economic and geographic dominance to force a series of unequal treaties on Nepal, following the example of their previous British masters. The Maoists have consistently called for their repeal, and this is a popular Nepalese demand.
Yet the UML is silent on the issue for the most part. In one instance referred to earlier, they were actually the government that facilitated and signed the 1996 Mahakali River Treaty (Mahakali River Integrated Development Treaty). This marked a new low, even by the standards of previous treaties, in giving India full control of the river in return for next to nothing. When it was ratified by the Parliament, it outraged many Nepalese who concluded all the parliamentary parties involved were Indian stooges, and rumors even circulated that the UML lead negotiators had taken money under the table.
Another measure which brought UML further opprobrium, especially from the Janjatis, was the decision to broadcast news in Sanskrit, which is spoken by no one in Nepal. This further fueled the resentment among those tribal groups already aggravated by the imposition of Nepali as the national language and the introduction of compulsory Sanskrit in schools which were controversial features of the 1990 Constitution.
Nepali, like Hindi, is a member of the Indo-Aryan group of languages which have their roots in Sanskrit (similar to the role that Latin played in Europe in relation to the evolution of the romance languages). Nepal is a multiethnic, multilingual society with over sixty ethnic groups, each with its own language, customs and religions.
For over two hundred years, these groups were excluded from political and economic power by dominant Brahmin castes who established Hindu dominance and sought to impose cultural and linguistic homogeneity upon all the peoples of Nepal.
In the Panchaayat era of Mahendra and Birendra, the slogan “One people – one language – one religion,” only intensified the resentment of the Janjatis against the phenomenon of Hindu domination. Unlike their Indian counterparts, the Adivasis, they form a sizable part of the population, and they supported the first Andolan by way of challenging Hindu hegemonic chauvinism. They felt betrayed however by the policies of the new democratic parliament which actually took steps to consolidate Hindu power.
This was especially true of the first NC government who dominated the shape of the new constitution and was controlled by the upper Hindu castes. What was surprising was the notionally progressive UML continued and even intensified the entrenchment of Hindu cultural and political control when they took over the reins of government from NC in 1994. The issue of the Sanskrit radio news emphasized this reactionary policy.
Consequently, many Janjatis flocked to the Maoist banner after the PW was launched in 1996 as the Maoists offered to reverse the domination of the minority Hindus in favour not only of the tribals but of the Dalits and the Terai Madeshi. The campaign against Sanskritism and the demand for cultural, political and economic freedom was an important part of the CPN(M) program.
It served to underline the fact that the UML, despite its residual Leftist rhetoric, was firmly set on a path of reaction first trodden by the CPI(M). How far this has taken the latter is shown by the recent events in West Bengal where a ‘Left Front’ government has been in power for over thirty years and now openly represents monopoly capitalist interests. It has gone, in the words of one local critic, “from Marxism to marketeering.”
This has been dramatically shown by its attempts to ethnically cleanse Adivasis from a 40 km square area around Nandigram, designated by the government as a Special Development Zone (SEZ), so that Salim, an Indonesian based multinational, can establish a huge chemical complex there.
Local resistance has been so fierce that the government dispatched 4,000 armed police, cadre and goondas to crush it. The violence and terror of this campaign led, in one notorious instance, to a massacre of 14 unarmed demonstrators. Consequently, leading CPI(M) cadre have been targeted and assassinated by Maoist guerrillas, acting as the armed wing of the CPI(Maoist).
It was mentioned earlier that this is prompted by the central government as part of the accommodation to a neoliberal strategy and is replicated in the individual states selected by whatever party is in power. The Left Front regime’s ruthless behaviour is in this sense no different from that of the BJP in Chhattisgarh, even to the extent of sending in CPI(M) cadre leading gangs of armed goondas against the Adivasi resisters.
That the UML is capable of such reactionary extremities is not in doubt; in its brief period of government, it proved that, far from establishing a progressive hiatus, it was indistinguishable from its NC predecessor, not only continuing its reactionary policies but formulating new ones of its own.
Like the NC, the UML has become a creature of Indian interests, and while each has developed by a different political route, they have arrived at the same destination. As they each largely draw support and membership from the Hindu segment of the population, they are culturally and linguistically homogeneous to India. Consequently they each find no great difficulty in pragmatically deferring to India’s economic and strategic power.
Like the Maoists, they recognize that, for example, Nepal is not self sufficient and is dependent on Indian imports to feed its population. Unlike the Maoists, however, this serves to bolster their pragmatism in the face of that power. Generally, again unlike the Maoists, they have no fear of Indian expansionism and would not even recognize the term. They rather see the growth of India’s influence as a natural reflection of its overall dominance in all the important spheres alluded to above, including its geographical position in relation to landlocked Nepal.
They are each willing agents, even if unconsciously, of the ‘Sikkimisation’ of Nepal. Sikkim voted in 1948 to stay out of India but gradually succumbed to Indian influence, a process stimulated by failure to produce an efficient government under its monarchy and which culminated in the 1975 occupation by the Indian Army and the subsequent referendum which a majority of the Sikkimese voted to ditch their King and become the 22nd state of the Indian republic.
They are each what could be termed ‘Indo-pendent’ parties, and thus, along with the reactionary pro-Indian officer class of the Nepalese Army, they found no difficulty in collaborating and scheming with primarily the Indian government but also with those of the US and UK in a campaign of sabotage against the Prachanda-led administration which culminated in the military coup recounted at the beginning of this article.
The weight of India’s actual and potential leverage on Nepal has also been implicitly recognised by the UCPN(M) and is one of the principal reasons behind its decision to move from the strategy of protracted People’s War and to the arena of multiparty democracy. It is, like freedom, a recognition of necessity; the realization that India could strangle any Nepalese revolutionary government at best or crush it by military intervention at worst.
It the understanding that there is no Socialist Bloc that can aid and support it, as was evident in the case of the Chinese Revolution, which could rely on the solidarity of the USSR to pursue its People’s War against a comprador Bonapartist Kuomintang clique and which led to victory in 1949.
Prachanda, in a recent meeting in London, said, in this respect:
The UCPN(M) cannot copy either the Bolshevik insurrectionist 1917 seizure of power in Russia or that of the CPC’s victory in China in 1949 but has to ‘develop’ its own strategy based on a concrete analysis of existing Nepalese conditions.
The looming and threatening power of Indian reaction is one of those conditions. The UCPN(M) has upset dogmatic Western Maoists by this adaptation to the existing reality and has developed a strategy to recognize the particularity of Nepal in the 21st century.
The acceptance of multi-party democracy by the UCPN(M) is such a ‘development’ and is not an opportunist stratagem to achieve power but is a long-standing principled policy to establish a ‘new democratic state’ in place of the present bureaucratic/comprador structure. It does not contemplate, therefore, establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat following a Protracted People’s War, Prachanda in a speech in 2002 articulated this position:
…we want to clarify once again we are committed to guarantee party freedom in the new state power to be constructed after the destruction of feudal autocracy. The state envisaged by us will not be a one-party dictatorship. The freedom to operate political parties according to one’s ideological convictions and contest elections will be guaranteed.
There only the activities of such elements upholding feudalism and inviting foreign domination will be curbed. We are committed to establish and develop a people’s democratic system of the twenty-first century. Such a democratic system won’t be a mechanical imitation of the traditional kind but will be guided by the people’s needs of the twenty-first century.
In this light the commitment to draw the previously oppressed and excluded classes and castes within Nepalese into this process is a part of extending and deepening this ‘new democracy.’
It also accepted that this stage of political transition will be dominated, in the words of Bhatterai in a 2008 interview, by a “capitalist revolution”who further gave the assurance that, “We will not nationalize large scale industry and we will respect free enterprise.” That this is not in contradiction with orthodox Marxist-Leninism, as he further said:
Marx, Engels and Lenin have already addressed this question. Between feudalism and socialism there is capitalism. But we have not yet had a capitalist stage in Nepal. It is therefore necessary to develop one.
The desire of the UCPN(M) was:
To go beyond Mao. We need to elaborate our own model. Marxism is not a religion, it is a science. We want to develop Marxism. (Le Monde, 11/04/2008, Author’s translation)
This capitalism will not be a comprador but a national one. It is a distinction that Mao himself made:
In the period of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, the people’s republic will not expropriate private property other than imperialist and feudal private property, and so far from confiscating the national bourgeoisie’s industrial and commercial enterprises, it will encourage their development. We shall protect every national capitalist who does not support the imperialists or the Chinese traitors. In the stage of democratic revolution there are limits to the struggle between labour and capital.
The labour laws of the people’s republic will protect the interests of the workers but will not prevent the national bourgeoisie from making profits or developing their industrial and commercial enterprises, because such development is bad for imperialism and good for the Chinese people. (On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism , Mao Tse-Tung, 1935, pp. 168/9 Selected Works, Vol.1)
Following a recent Central Committee meeting which produced unity after a party sanctioned ‘two line struggle’ regarding this position, a member of the UCPN(M) politburo wrote:
And those who were in favour of restructuring the state explained that they too were engaged in a struggle, but it was a different type of struggle which may look Rightist and reformist in form but that in essence it was neither Rightist or reformist. This is because all these steps are being taken not to consolidate the old feudal and comprador/bureaucratic set-up but to achieve a new restructured state. (Thesis, Antithesis & Synthesis, Hsila Yami, Kantipur Times, August 2009)
This is a classic exposition of the “negation of the negation.” It demonstrates the subtlety and sophistication of the Nepalese party cleaving closely to Mao’s analytical methodology. It has been criticized by the Communist Party of India(Maoist) as Rightist deviation from the strategy of PPW which intends to culminate in the smashing of the existing state. They are rightly engaged in armed resistance the length and breadth of India against the forces of a social-fascist comprador state.
But they will find it even harder than in Nepal for the “countryside to encircle the city”, as civil society is even more entrenched in Indian urban centers than in Nepal.
It is certainly a qualitatively different application from the religio-dogmatic, karaoke forms that pass for Maoism among some Western anoraks.
Finally, there is no inevitability that the strategy of the UCPN(M) will be successful, any more than there is about the victory of the worldwide proletarian revolution, but it is certainly better equipped, intellectually and politically, to handle the twists and turns that are distinctly manifest and unique in Nepal as they are indeed in all revolutions.
*My grandfather,Gabriel Byrne, was typical in this respect; he was a volunteer with the 6th Battalion of the Irish Republican Army during the 1918-21 War of Independence. He took the Republican side in the civil war that followed and for a while was de Valera’s driver. He was interned for a time in the Curragh and remained a ‘Dev’ man until his death in 1969.
He came from the Dun Laoghaire working class and started life as a railwayman at the station there, from which many Volunteer operations were launched including a famous ambush on the Marine Parade, two hundred yards from Dun Laoghaire station, where several Black and Tans died in a bomb attack on their Crossley Tender. In peacetime, through hard work combined with a shrewd business sense he became a newsagent in Monkstown next door.
He never lost his republican radicalism or his antipathy to British imperialism. When I was twelve, he thrust E.M. Forster’s Passage to India into my hands and said: “If you want to know what the British were like in India – read this!”
**I was not surprised by the results, as during April 2006, I went on a solo trek around the villages off the Annapurna Trail, a region that was supposed to be one of the few rural areas left under the control of the God-King’s army. Equipped with some Nepalese language, I found ubiquitous evidence of Maoist activity and propaganda and that they had almost total support from the people thereabouts.
One of the few exceptions was an ex-Ghurka shopkeeper who by coincidence had been quartered at barracks in Aldershot where I had worked as a carpenter during the late sixties. The CPN(M) opposes the recruitment of Ghurka mercenaries into either the British or Indian armies.
If I gave the Maoist greeting, Lal Salam (Red Salute), to peoples in fields or villages, it was readily returned, and I made many friends. The commitment was genuine and heartfelt and shaped by years of oppression from a state which was only visible in a repressive military form. The PLA was stood down in that area as part of the CPA.
If you Google: “Peter Tobin – Bishnu Rimal,” you will find an interview I conducted with the latter (a UML Central Committee member) a few days after the victory of the Andolan which will confirm that I guessed right on the depth of Maoist support.
REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
Bhattarai, B. Monarchy versus Democracy.
Chauduri, N.C. The Continent of Circe.
Hegel, G.W.F. The Philosophy of History.
Karki, A & Seddon, D. The People’s War in Nepal – Left Perspectives.
Mao Tse Tung. On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism, Selected Works, Vol. 1.
Marx, K. The Future Results of British Rule in India, Selected Works, Vol.1.
Maxwell, N. India’s China War.
Misra, A. War of Civilizations – The Long Revolution (India AD 1857).
Muni, S.D. Maoist Insurgency in Nepal.
Rimal, B. Challenging Globalization.
Stalin, J.V. Marxism and the National Question.
Thapa, D. A Kingdom Under Siege.
Yami, H. Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis.
PERIODICALS & JOURNALS
Himal – Southasian
The Worker, Journal of the UCPN(M)
Study & Research
Trade Union Rights
World of Work
I would like to thank Kumar Sarkhar for his explanation of the term Bhadralok, and also for drawing my attention that any description of Indian civil society that does not represent its multiethnic, multilingual and multifaceted political culture and therefore exaggerates Hindu hegemony will be unbalanced. While I do not therefore resign myself from the ‘Two Nations’ theory in respect of Ireland, I do need to study the Indian experience further – after all comparisons might be odious.
He has also provided me with details of the position of the CPI(M) with regard to partition and their discussions with Stalin and Zhdanov representing the CPSU. This has pointed to a gap in the article relating to early history and development of the Indian CP.
I would like to thank Tongogara Tewodros for drawing my attention to Hegel’s views on slavery.
I would also like to thank Sudeshna Sarkar for correcting a Tourette’s grammatical tic I had developed by correcting my spelling of Hindu names, and by pointing out that KP Bhatterai was the first PM following the 1990 Andolan, and not GP Koirala. Her article on a sacred Hindu relic was helpful because it detailed the section of the Mahabharata where the Pandavas brothers flee to the Himalayas racked with guilt at the enormity of their victory over the Kuaravas brothers following the mythic battle of Kurukshetra.
This episode both bears out and challenges the notion of a historical martial Hindu spirit (which is proposed by Chauduri and which this article tries to confirm with the history since Independence); it confirms it in the battle, which although one among many, is pivotal, it modifies it with the anguished withdrawal of the victors. This rejection of the world finds its echoes throughout Hindu literature and history where powerful figures step down, practice virtue and find spiritual solace.
It was not particularly confined to Hindu myth – we have the historical figure of Siddhartha Gautama who relinquished his princely status in order to ‘become one with himself and the universe’ and become Buddha in the process.
Finally, I would like to thank her generally for a vigorous exchange on issues raised in the article.
This is an excellent document that reviews the relationship between India and Nepal from a Marxist perspective. There are commenters on this blog who say that the market has proven superior to socialist economies. This was true in Europe, when one compared socialist economies in Eastern Europe with the social democracies (really another form of socialism) in Western Europe.
The social democracies definitely achieved better sustained economic growth, though I understand that socialism worked pretty well in Tito’s Yugoslavia. At the moment, all of Europe is pretty well developed, so I don’t see how Europe benefits from state socialism.
In the rest of the world, it’s another matter altogether. One can make a serious case that capitalism is failing in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Philippines and Indonesia. Furthermore, it seems to be failing badly in Latin America.
When you look at the horrible slums in this part of the world, when you count up all of those killed by hunger and disease every year, when you note all of those that lack even the most basic amenities of life, capitalism has disastrously failed in many places. At least socialism can build up an economy, get rid of slums, pave the roads, give everyone electricity, plumbing, clean water, schooling, health care, access to work, culture and transportation.
I look at the slums of Rio, Lima, Manila or Delhi and say the Hell with it. Are you kidding? This is the best we can do? Capitalist apologists look at that mess and say, “We are working on it.” They’ve been “working on it” forever. When are the heartbreaking shantytowns ever going to go away? Probably never in my lifetime.
Get rid of this system. At the least, socialism (or nowadays, some market socialism hybrid) can develop the country and meet people’s basic needs. At some point in the future, maybe it could morph into a Chinese-style system.
This piece is excellent on so many levels I can’t even begin to write about it. I will just leave it to the commenters to take it apart. It takes a while to read it, so just print it out and read it at your leisure.
Peter Tobin is a fine writer and thinker. He’s an Irishman and a lot of his thinking is watered with his Irish experience. Curiously, he’s opposed to the IRA and supports self-determination for the Six Counties.
INDIA & NEPAL – BIG BROTHER – LITTLE BROTHER
A CASE STUDY IN NEOCOLONIALISM
A MARXIST PERSPECTIVE
When a great social revolution shall have mastered the results of the bourgeois epoch, the market of the world and the modern powers of production and subject to the common control of the most advanced peoples, then only will human progress cease to resemble that hideous pagan idol, who would not drink the nectar but from the skulls of the slain. (The Future Results of British Rule in India, 1853, Marx Engels, Sel.Wks. Volume 1, p.499)
The alliance of the three principal parties, Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and the now renamed Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) that together overthrew the world’s last Hindu monarchy and established a secular republic following the Jana Andolan (People’s Uprising) in 2006 has finally ended.
In this article I want to examine the reasons for this turn of events and the role that India, in particular, the US and the UK have played in undermining the coalition government led by the UCPN(M) leader, Prachandra, which provoked his resignation and his party’s withdrawal from that government. The coup was organised by RAW (Research Analysis Wing) an arm of Indian intelligence in conjunction with the CIA and after four April days in Katmandu meeting NC leaders, with Yadev, the Nepalese president playing a Quisling role.
In relation to the first I will set out the policies of successive Indian administrations towards Nepal and see how it reflects their long-standing assertion of hegemony over the entire sub-continent. To provide a comprehensive analysis I will analyze India’s history since independence in order to show that its approach is consistent with this narrative and the world view that emerged from it.
In relation to Nepal I will detail the record of NC and demonstrate its subordination to the authority of Delhi. Also the part played by the CPN(UML) will be investigated to how it mirrors the politics and practices of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
In passing I will touch upon the limitations of bourgeois nationalist struggles against imperialism which become exposed after they have successfully challenged and ejected their colonial masters and argue that they view the completion of that stage as an end in itself, precluding only residual territorial claims. While they have developed a national antithesis to the colonial thesis they have stopped short of delivering a real autonomous synthesis.
In contrast I will advance the contention of revolutionary communists that they have only taken the first step on the road to genuine national liberation. Here I will cite the Indian and Irish experiences and contrast them with the Soviet and Chinese approach. That the latter followed a socialist direction which was ultimately more fruitful will be argued .
In relation specifically to China that it was this socialist path that was the foundation of that country’s present economic ascendancy, albeit following the state capitalist course initiated by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s.
I will also account for the use of the term social fascist by the Indian and Nepalese Maoists to describe the polity of the reactionary forces against the peoples of those countries. I will contend that it is manifestly not polemical abuse serving an emotive political function but an objective assessment which has arisen from historical experience in definite situations which in their contemporary recurrence support its continued applicability.
In order to fully understand how a formal bourgeois democracy, which has an imperialist or neocolonialist presence away from its metropolitan centre, can be classified as being social fascist, I will outline its historical provenance and the principal elements that constitute the ideology and practices of fascism.
To that end I will compare and contrast the explicit form exhibited by German national socialism, from 1918 to 1945 with that of the evolved and extant forms exhibited by the established European and American empires. In this respect I will detail the uniqueness of Germany’s historical development from its comparatively late appearance as a unified state in 1871 and why its subsequent history led to the national socialist Third Reich.
I will maintain that, in practice, there is no essential difference between the former and the latter; whether you apply the criteria of racist ideology, exploitation or wars of aggression and conquest, the distinctions are purely quantitative, or indeed, as in the case of Nazi genocide, purely a matter of geographical location.
In short; fascism arises from imperialism, albeit in a compressed historical form and that contemporary imperialism is leading increasingly to a fascist polity. That this theoretical understanding is already equipping the progressive forces engaged in anti-imperialist struggles to apply the correct political taxonomy, the better to identify the enemy accurately is a task that the Indian and Nepalese Maoists have addressed and answered.
Finally I will conclude that the Nepalese Maoists are correct in affirming that the present task is to complete the bourgeois democratic revolution and dismantle the bureaucratic, feudal, comprador state. Only then can a socialist stage be realised. But that in all events Nepali progressives room for maneuver will be circumscribed until the victory of communist revolution in India.
For the present the Indian ruling class, riding on it’s economic, military and geographical dominance in alliance with American expansionists, will ensure that an independent state, whether bourgeois or socialist, in Nepal will be either crippled or crushed.
GENESIS OF THE PRESENT CRISIS IN NEPAL
The forces of reaction in Nepal, among whom we must regrettably count the UML (especially the leadership faction around K.P. Oli) have consistently refused to accept the result of the 2008 election which saw the UCPN(M) emerge as the largest party with a 40% plurality of the vote with NC coming second with 30% and the UML third with 20%.
The maneuvering of, principally, the last two who since then have attempted to undermine the Prachanda led coalition government as it has sought to address the major problems in Nepali society.
Since its budget of late 2008 this administration promoted the need for greater female emancipation, land distribution to the peasantry away from the residual feudal classes, for necessary infrastructural development, a minimum wage to reduce poverty in one of the world’s poorest countries, disputing the historical Hindu oppression of the Janjatis (ethnic peoples) by the Babus Malikharu (Gentlemen Masters), the Dalits (untouchables, oppressed, similarly known as Shudras) and the Terai Madeshi (the peoples of the southern plain bordering India).
A key provision of the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement was the integration of the People’ Liberation Army into the Nepalese Army (formerly the Royal Nepalese Army) advanced by the UCPN(M) in order to professionalize the PLA and democratize the NA. It was an important part of the CPA between the Seven Parliamentary Parties and the UCPN(M) which ended its ten year Jana Yuddha Lambyaunu (Protracted People’s War) by agreeing to declare a ceasefire and enter the arena of multi-party democracy.
Immediately following the Andolan the then NA Chief of Staff, Thapa, indicated that he was ‘comfortable’ with the proposed merger. Since then the NA officer caste guided by their new CoS, Katawal, have become increasingly reluctant to amalgamate the two forces fearing that the Maobaadi (Maoists) would spread the contagion of red revolution through the ranks of the NA.
Katawal’s foot-dragging led to Prachanda, as the elective authority, giving a direct order to Katawal to initiate the process and to cease fresh recruitment to the NA, which was again contrary to the 2006 agreement. His refusal to carry out a lawful order was the occasion for the present crisis.
It was significant that this mutinous behaviour was backed by President Yadav, an NC appointment, reflecting that party’s class interests and foreign influences. This cabal was joined by the UML. When they resigned from the coalition government Prachanda was left with no option but resignation.
Delhi was quick to rubber stamp this coup and sent its minister of defence, Bandari, scuttling to Kathmandu to tell the new coalition government, now excluding the Maoists, and whose Prime Minister was the UML General Secretary, M. K. Nepal, two things: firstly: that Katawal’s tenure as CoS should be extended “under any circumstances” (Nepal Telegraph, 22/07/2009), and to cancel his scheduled retirement.
Secondly: that India would resume arms shipment to the NA which had been suspended when Gyanendra prorogued the Parliament in 2002 and seized absolute power. This was the ostensible reason but it was influenced by Gyanendra’s post 9/11 success in courting the American government and getting it to put the Maoists on their list of ‘terrorists’ to be included in the ‘War On Terror’.
Gyanendra gave the US a foothold in Nepal and so threatened Delhi’s previous sole hegemony over that country. Conversely the Indian government supported the corresponding invasion of Afghanistan because they were amenable to the anti-Muslim strategy behind the WOT; particularly as it promised to destabilize the old enemy, Pakistan.
By prompting and backing the undemocratic tactics behind this plot India asserted it’s neo-colonial authority over Nepal.
Many Nepalese recognize this but the UCPN(M) is the only major political party that is committed to resisting and overcoming Delhi’s malign influence. It correctly reasons that the Nepalese should be masters of their own destiny. The latest events have only served to confirm it’s analysis and strengthen its resolve.
The immediate challenge brought about by the combination of external and external reaction has generated in party ranks a sanctioned ‘two line struggle’ (this is unique in the history of Communist parties who have often handled internal arguments with extreme antagonism).
The difference is whether to continue the ‘Prachanda Path’ of continuing the building of a new democracy and the restructuring of the state within the integument of a multi-party, parliamentary system or to go “back to the jungle”, (This term is common parlance in Nepal), and to resume the PPW?
After a month long meeting of the Central Committee during this August they have hammered out a unified position which is to continue the ‘Prachanda Path’ in conjunction with an increased campaign of popular agitation through demonstrations, Bandhs (strikes, shut-downs), the Gherao (sit-ins, occupations) and continuing land seizures from feudal control. The declared aim was stated by Prachanda as “the capture of state power” and the drafting of new constitution.
It is no surprise that NC organised and supported Katawal’s putsch, despite the fact that it has trade union roots and maintains residual links with the Nepalese labour movement and was launched on a explicitly socialist programme. It is now, however, the party of primarily the Hindu, comprador bhadralok* class.
It was further swollen after the 1990 Andolan with an influx of former Panchayaat activists, (a feudal talking shop introduced by King Mahendra in 1960 following his dissolution of parliament) who were seeking a new political home after the apparent collapse of the absolutist monarchy. Nepal is at the crossroads and critical months, if not years, lie ahead.
*The classification Bhadralok is a Bengali word and originally referred to the feudal strata prior to the rise of a bourgeois class. Now it is used pejoratively by class-conscious Nepalese to include both. I heard it often during the 2006 Andolan coupled with the epithet corharu (thieves).
FASCISM & SOCIAL FASCISM – TWO FORMS OF BOURGEOIS POLITY
Fascism in not a form of state power “standing above the masses – the proletariat and the bourgeoisie,” as Otto Bauer, for instance has asserted. It is not “the revolt of the petty bourgeoisie which has captured the machinery of the state,” as the British socialist Brailsford declares. No, fascism is not a power standing above class, nor government of the petty bourgeoisie or the lumpenproletariat over finance capital.
Fascism is the power of finance capital itself. It is the organisation of terrorist vengeance against the working class and the revolutionary section of the peasantry and intelligentsia. In foreign policy, fascism is jingoism in its most brutal form, fomenting bestial hatred of other nations.
(See The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in the Struggle of the Working Class against Fascism, Georgi Dimitrov, Main Report to the 7th World Congress of the Comintern, 02/08/1935).
The phenomenon of social fascism arises wherever bourgeois order is threatened or it’s extension resisted. It originated in the Comintern’s ‘Third Period’ as a method of describing the attempts of succession of social democratic regimes to shore up the capitalist order initiated by Germany’s first socialist regime, under Ebert, which took power in the dying days of World War One when the country was in extremis; threatened by naval and army mutinies and the specter of red revolution driven by the Spartacists and led by Luxemburg and Liebknecht.
The left’s attempt to seize power and install a soviet system, inspired by the success of the Russian Bolsheviks in October 1917, was defeated by Ebert and his Minister of Defense, Noske (“The bloodhound of the revolution”), who in collaboration with the German General Staff created the Freikorps as an armed counter-revolutionary riposte to the embryonic communists.
Like the Black and Tans in Ireland, these right wing thugs were recruited from demobbed soldiers to initiate a reign of terror, torture and murder. They became the backbone of the fascist movement which finally took shape as the NSDAP (National Socialist German Worker’s Party), the Nazi Party.
It was the Scheidemann government in 1919 that resisted the demand of substantial sections of the labour movement to nationalize key industries and, contrarily, responded by dismantling the dirigistic, wartime planning mechanisms and state controls that did exist and returning the economic sector back to the free market.
The subsequent governments of the Weimar period built upon these counterrevolutionary foundations and so prepared the way for Hitler’s accession as Reichkanzler in 1933. The application of the term of social fascist to their political practice was the Comintern’s reaction to these circumstances.
The line changed when the Nazi regime proved itself to be a more corrupt and virulent form of bourgeois power. The strategy of the ‘Popular Front,’ developed and advocated by Dimitrov, through the Comintern argued for the unity of all classes and social forces from the proletarian to the bourgeois in the face of this unique threat.
The characterisation of the German bourgeois state during Weimar as social fascist was no longer applicable. The principal contradiction had changed in the new historical conjuncture. In this new situation the objective necessity was “To unite the many to defeat the few,” and this replaced the ‘class against class’ line.
It is currently relevant because it explains and defines the political activities of contemporary imperialism. In reality there is no qualitative difference between what the Anglo-Saxon imperialists are doing to the Iraqis and the Afghans and what the German Nazis did to the Jews and the Slavs.
The only distinction is formal as the bourgeois democracies retain the rhetoric of social democracy and the procedures of, what Lenin termed “parliamentary cretinism.” When he further advised against “making a fetish of democracy,” his object of derision was this bourgeois construct and its pretensions to egalitarianism and freedom.
Contemporaneously it is used by the Indian Maoists to account for the genocidal attacks on the Adivasis (India’s Janjatis) and describe the policies of all the major parties exercising state and central power in India. These are aimed at clearing the land of the aboriginal tribal peoples to facilitate the extraction of natural resources by Indian and foreign multinationals.
Hitlerite fascism was a distinct construct from the forms of bourgeois power that evolved in the democracies of Europe and the United States. It came out of the hothouse conditions of modern German history and it’s comparatively late unification occurred under the aegis of Prussian monarchical militarism which followed victory in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The Kaiserstaat came into being into being in January 1871 following the military defeat of France.
The impact of the shattering defeat in World War One, which arose from the antagonism of the other European powers against the brash expansionism of the new German Empire, was the event that added specificity to the extreme right wing configuration of German nationalism which took final shape in the Gothic and virulent form of Nazism.
Marx was particularly acute at recognizing the nascent elements of fascism in their individuation nearly a hundred years before the merged in the totality of Hitlerism:
These highfalutin’ and haughty hucksters of ideas (German post- Hegelian philosophers – PT.) who imagine themselves infinitely exalted above all national prejudices are thus in practice far more national than the beer-quaffing philistines who dream of a united Germany.
(The German Ideology, Marx-Engels, Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 45)
The Third Reich was both a product and a catalyst of these particular elements in Germany’s cultural and political evolution.
Marx is further prescient in identifying the incipient expansionism that lurked in the thinking of these new ideologues and their desire to impose Germanism on other peoples. For them it was a given that German kultur was the ultimate expression of Die Geistesgeschicte (Vide: The Philosophy of History, G.W.F. Hegel, 1805/6. The Spirit of History is the closest English translation of this term, in its German sense, however, Geist implies morale, motivation and intellect.)
Hegel used the term to contrast it with the materialist concept of Naturgewissenschaft, (the natural sciences). It was his method of elucidating the intellectual and spiritual forces that defined the uniqueness of German culture.
Hegel particularly identifies the Prussian State as the apotheosis of what he termed Der Weltgeist (World Spirit) in transcendent form. It represented Die letzt etappe im geschicte (the last stage in history)**.
Hitler’s promise of a ‘Thousand-Year Reich’ derives from, and vaingloriously articulates, this proposition.***
As with so much of Marx’s thinking he was, in this instant, scrupulous in classifying the ideological tap-roots of German chauvinism. We have become all too aware of its rightist manifestations but xenophobia also infected the evolving labour movement. Kautsky, for example, perfectly expressed this metaphysical belief in German cultural ascendancy when he asserted that the Czechs would finally succumb because:
the force of unfettered intercourse alone, the force of modern culture brought by the German’s alone would, without any forcible Germanization have transformed into Germans the backward petit-bourgeois, peasants and proletarians who could expect nothing from their shabby nationality.
(Kautsky’s preface to: Revolution and Counterrevolution, Engels 1896)
Kautsky was an active member of Ebert’s government where he served in the Foreign Ministry. This, no doubt, allowed him to demonstrate his kulturell uberlegenheit uber der menschlich auslander .
** Brecht has one of his characters say of Hegel:
…he had the stuff to be one of the greatest humorists among philosophers, like Socrates, who had a similar method. But he had the bad luck it seems to become a civil servant in Prussia and so he sold himself to the state.
(Fluchtlingsgesprache, – Refugees Conversation, Brecht, 1961 p. 108)
***Significantly the latest of Hegel’s epigones have emerged among American neo-conservatives who flourished in the triumphalist years following the suicide of the Soviet Union in 1989. Fukuyama, it’s leading ideologue, gave them their Mein Kampf in The End of History, (a title appropriated from Hegel) published in 1992, asserting that the collapse of the Eastern Bloc signified the final victory of liberal capitalism and that no other progressive socioeconomic development was either possible or necessary.
It was also a conscious riposte to Marx’s concept of “Das ende der prageschicte” (the end of prehistory, by which he means all history up to and including the capitalist epoch; prior to a proper civilized history which will begin with the establishment of socialism.)
There is only a quantitative difference between German fascism and the empires of Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Holland and America. The Nazis’ treatment of the Jews and the Slavs isn’t qualitatively dissimilar to what the latter did, and those who survive continue to do to countless other ‘inferior’ races away from their metropolitan centres. Genocide, dispossession, slavery, war and ruthless exploitation are routine to all empires, past and present, it is in their DNA.
German Nazism was unique in that it committed its crimes in Europe and opposed to other empires who painted their criminal images from the palette of the world outside. Marx drew this conclusion:
The profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization lies unveiled before our eyes, turning from it’s home where it assumes respectable forms to the colonies where it goes naked.
(The Future Results of British Rule in India, 1853, Marx-Engels Selected Works, Vol.1 p,498)
This was written four years before the 1857 Indian war of independence and it’s brutal, genocidal aftermath which recent Indian historians have estimated saw the physical annihilation of nearly ten million Indians, 7% of the population at that time.**** (Vide: War of Civilizations – The Long Revolution, (India AD 1857), A. Misra, 2007).
Dickens, the great avuncular, sentimental icon of British liberal culture somewhat blemished this persona by calling for the entire Indian race to be exterminated as punishment for rebellion and in expiation for their crimes. That his demented counsel was not followed was not from the want of trying.
The Nazis avoided ‘profound hypocrisy’ and explicitly reveled in racist barbarism.
German fascism was a specific form of imperialism whose development was accelerated and accentuated by frustrated national ambition.
The current crimes of imperialism are dressed now in the garb of ‘liberal interventionism’ which posits defending and extending ‘human rights’ and the ‘gift’ of ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ to those Kipling referred to as ‘lesser breeds without the law’. These are modish affectations which attempt to rationalize hegemonic oppression with the glib use of contemporary mores.
****Brecht in Die Dreigroschenoper, (The Threepenny Opera) accurately captures the casual racism and gratuitous butchery of colonial armies in Kanonensong (Canon Song) in duet sung by Macheath, the gangster, and Tiger Brown, the police chief as they fondly recall the good times when they served abroad together in the British Army.
Soldaten wohnen Soldiers live Auf den Kanonensong Upon their canons Vom Cap bis Cooch Behar From the Cape to Couch Behar Wenn es mal regnete When a rainy day would come Und es begegnete And they met Ihnen 'ne neue Rasse A new race 'ne braune oder blasse A brown one or a white one Dann machen sie vielleicht They'd probably make daraus ihr Beefsteak Tartar. Raw mincemeat out of 'em.
They are a reconceptualization of what Kipling again referred to as: “The White Man’s Burden.”*****
The conception of liberal imperialism has its roots in the ‘profound hypocrisy’ of the Georgian era when British authorities launched a campaign against the Hindu practice of widow burning (Sati, rendered by English 18th century phonetics as Suttee) was advanced as proof of Britain’s civilizing mission in India. This order of rationalization reached exalted heights during the Victorian period with the foreign policy of the sanctimonious Gladstone.
The anti-Sati contingency initiated by the East Indian Company finds it’s echo in that one of the principal justifications for the invasion and continued occupation of Afghanistan is to emancipate females from a medievalist Taliban. But this a post hoc rationale designed to divert a credulous home front and mask the fundamental geopolitical aims of American imperialism.
It has led to a drive to extend women’s rights and involves specially trained teams (no doubt recruited through the Guardian job vacancies column) visiting Pashtun villages to raise ‘gender awareness’.
As part of the ‘profound hypocrisy’ represented by these torch-bearers for Western civilization it goes hand in hand with barely discriminate bomb and missile attacks on these same villages from Predator and Reaper unmanned aircraft guided by CIA operatives working out of Langley, stateside. The claim is that resistance fighters are the principal targets but the ‘collateral damage’ estimate is that forty villagers are killed for every one militant.
As with the Israeli Zionists, who pioneered this tactic against the Palestinians and who along with CIA advisers guided the RNA’s application against the Maoists it lays bare the racist tenet that the lives of those, other than white, are of little consequence. It demonstrates that the tactic of imposing a Western feminist ideology on Afghanistan is contingent to the pursuit of global ‘Ameranglian’ interests.
Consequently there is no pressure applied to the equally medieval Saudi regime on the same principle that Foster Dulles, Eisenhower’s Secretary of State observed of Batista the Cuban dictator before the 1959 revolution:
He may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard.
*****Kipling, the high priest of imperial doggerel, wrote this poem to celebrate the emergent American Empire’s successful invasion of the Philippines in 1899. This was its first major foray over the ‘blue water’ and was also the occasion of their first substantial genocide away from the Americas, resulting in the systematic extermination of over half a million Filipinos during a protracted ‘pacification’ campaign.
President McKinley saw it as a civilizing mission to help:
our little brown brothers” and claimed that the Philippines were, “a gift from the gods..there was nothing left for us to do but take them all and to educate the Filipinos…and by God’s grace do the best we could for them.
In truth it was a practical example of the newly minted Yankee credo of ‘Manifest Destiny.’ The current version is the neoconservative euphemism for global hegemony – ‘Full Spectrum Dominance.’
Therefore the racism, of the Nazi Reich, founded on the belief of the innate superiority of Anglo-Saxons uber alles, was not sui generis but reflected the ideology of those European powers who had begun serious colonial exploitation in the 16th. Century. The slave trade is the exemplar of this divinely ordered superiority but it was also accompanied by acts of genocide, subjugation, dispossession and exploitation against countless other native peoples wherever the European, and later, American colonial powers encroached.******
The system continues and imperialism remains a malignant force; those it doesn’t kill or maim, it exploits,pollutes and corrupts, whether it is the Indian compradors reign of terror against the adivasis, or Garcia’s regime in Peru attempting to ethnically cleanse ‘backward’ tribals so that their lands can be plundered in the name of ‘progress’.
It presently manifests itself in the activities of the IDF Einsatzgruppen in the killing fields of the Gaza Ghetto and the West Bank and in the war of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan where indiscriminate terror and destruction are visited on their respective populations.
The list is not exhaustive as the tentacles of imperialism have become more ubiquitous in a world shrunken by technology and the ever pervading global market, but what is constant are the racial assumptions that sustain the system. The notion that peoples can be deemed ‘uncivilized,’ ‘backward,’ ‘primitive,’ ‘barbarous’ & which excuses any treatment meted out to them is the functioning ideology and the beating heart of imperialism. Racism is axiomatic to imperialism; whatever the spin of its contemporary apologists.
The eccentric British historian A.J.P. Taylor used to shock his peers who argued that Hitler’s ‘evil’ was historically unique and the the crimes of Nazi Germany were a singular irrational aberration which traduced the continuum of Western civilization, by claiming that Hitler was “just another German statesman,” and that he was only different, for example, from Bismarck in promoting a Grossdeutsch (Greater Germany) against the the Iron Chancellor’s desire for a Kleindeutsch (Smaller Germany).
Their linking narrative was a belief in a strong, militarist, centralized state and carving out ‘a place in the sun’ in the wider world for a German empire. The imperialism of Das Dritte Reich, in the light of the above, was just another imperialism, with the proviso that its aggression and volatility for that particular historical period made it the principle imperialist enemy in a world where the basic contradiction was imperialism per se, and indeed remained so after its destruction.
In that context the principle imperial enemy became the US which inherited the anti-communist crusade of the Nazis and even their anti-Semitism, although they more pragmatically shifted from hatred of the diaspora to the indigenous Semites who occupied a strategic area which was rich in oil. The irony is that they used the returning European Zionists as their proxy Sondarkommando operating out of their Fort Apache colony – the artificial state of Israel.
****** Negroes are enslaved by Europeans and sold to America. Bad as this may be, their lot in their own land is even worse…for it is the essential principle of slavery, that man who has not attained a consciousness consequently sinks down to a mere Thing. An object of no value. Among the Negroes moral sentiments are quite weak, or more strictly speaking, non-existent.
(Philosophy of History, G.W.F. Hegel, P. 96)
Note: Repost from the old blog.
Extinct language, related to English! Straight up from Old English, from there to a branch of Middle English via a group of Normans who went to Ireland in 1169. There are some texts on the page showing Yola with English alongside. Strange how one’s language can change so much in just 700 years. It’s almost unrecognizable and would surely be unintelligible.
You folks want to know how new languages are created? Check out this example.
Check out also the strange language called Fingalian.
Last speaker – Martin Parle, Carnsore Point, late 1870’s.
The Indo-European languages include most of the languages of Europe, Iran and Northern India. For instance, English, Gaelic, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Romanian, Bulgarian, Russian, Greek, Albanian, Armenian and Kurdish are some of the better-known IE languages of Europe and the Near East.
In Iran, the major language, Farsi, is IE, as is the major language Pashto in Afghanistan. In India and Pakistan, the huge languages Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi are all IE.
They go back to a proto-language called Proto Indo-European, or PIE. In that the languages are all related, the truth is that the peoples are all related to for the greatest part. So Northern Indians, Pashtuns, Iranians, Kurds and Armenians are all closely related to Europeans since they all sprung in part from a common source, in the famous words of Sir William Jones, who discovered the IE languages in the late 1700’s.
Going back 6,500 years, we can reconstruct Proto-Indo-European quite well. One of the best resources is Julius Pokorny‘s Proto-Indo-European Etymological Dictionary (or Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch).
Originally written in German, this incredible 2,500 page masterwork has been translated largely, but not completely, into English. One of my favorite pastimes is wading through this monster. I have a downloadable copy on the blog here (huge file).
The homeland of the Indo-Europeans is the subject of much debate, but the modern consensus centers around putting the homeland at 6500 years before present (YBP) around Southern Russia. I have narrowed it to southern Russia, southeastern Ukraine and southwestern Kazakhstan north of the Caucasus. This is more or less the region in between the Black and Caspian Seas.
An arid region called the Kuma-Manych Depression is in the middle of this region and seems to be a major center of PIE culture. I could not find a map of the Depression, but it separates the North Caucasus from the Russian Plain.
There were also settlements in southeastern Ukraine near the Sea of Azov, about 50 miles north of the Caspian Sea in southwestern Kazakhstan and up around the Lower Volga Region near Samara. A good word for this general region is the Pontic-Caspian Steppe.
From there, it’s not really known how or when the Proto-Indo-Europeans spread out, but they show up in Europe some time later. A good map of their migrations or conquests is here.
The PIE people had several advantages over their neighbors. They were already into the Bronze Age for one, and not only that, but there were horses running around Southern Russia. The PIE had managed to domesticate the horse. That’s quite an advantage, but the PIE people did one better.
They even invented a wheel. Then they logically put the two together and made horse-drawn chariots. With these chariots, the PIE people apparently conquered much of Europe and later parts of Southwest Asia and South Asia.
The people in Europe at this time were pre-PIE folks. We know little about their culture, but the master of PIE culture, the celebrated professor Marija Gimbutas (A woman!) calls it “Old Europe.” Old Europe is very little known or understood. A probable surviving language from Old Europe is Basque. Another, long extinct, is Etruscan.
The very early people of the British Isles, whose descendants are now known as the Black Irish, populated the Isles between 9000-11000 YBP. They had dark hair, dark eyes and very pale skin. Genetically, they seem to resemble the Basques and may have come on boats from Spain.
The Basques themselves and related peoples may have come from the Caucasus long, long ago. Although Basque is said to have no living relatives, I believe it is related to Caucasian languages like Chechen and Ingush. Throughout Europe one finds folks called Black this and Black that.
I had a girlfriend who called herself a Black Swede and later on, a girlfriend named Linda of Polish heritage. Both had very dark, curly hair, dark eyes and very pale skin. As a guess, these types of Europeans may be the remains of Old Europe.
Gimbutas is also the founder of the Kurgan Hypothesis, which is currently the best PIE theory out there. Gimbutas (photo) sort of lost it towards the end when she got into “Goddess worship” and whatnot, but it’s clear that this Lithuanian archeologist was one of the great scholars of our time.
Some time after 6500 YBP, PIE began to break up, but no one knows quite how this occurred. At any rate, by 4200 YBP, a split had occurred in PIE and a separate language had broken off, Indo-Iranian. There are maps out there of the Indo-Iranian homeland, but I don’t like them all that much so I made my own. My best guess was to place it in the far north of Kazakhstan and just over the border into Russia.
From there, after 3500 YBP, the Indo-Aryans moved out and migrated into Afghanistan, Pakistan, North India and Iran. Many people in these regions today speak Indo-Iranian languages descended from these people. These folks are thought to be the source of the famous Aryan Invasion of India at around this time.
As I noted, the process whereby these languages split off, other than the Indo-Aryan split, is little known. However, assuming this tree diagram is correct, maybe it can shed some light on the matter.
Unfortunately, this chart is hard to read, so I will try to decipher it. The first thing to note is the Anatolian split in the tree, apparently the first split. There are problems with the date for PIE. A glottochronological study recently gave a date of about 8500 YBP for PIE, considerably earlier than the usual date of around 6500 YBP.
Promoters of something called the Anatolian Hypothesis have used this to suggest than an earlier language called Proto-Indo-Hittite was spoken in Anatolia 8500 years ago.
The Anatolian languages split off, and the PIE speakers moved to the Pontic Steppe. The movement of Proto-Indo-Hittite speakers out of Anatolia to the Pontic Steppe to form the PIE people may be related to the Black Sea Deluge Theory which has recently been proven correct.
The Black Sea expanded dramatically according to this theory as, around 7600 YBP, a waterfall 200 times the size of Niagara Falls (!) poured through the Bosporus Straits, transforming the pre-Black Sea freshwater lake into the present-day brackish (part-salt water, part-fresh water) Black Sea. Soon after this event, PIE culture appears in the Pontic Steppe.
This is a very controversial proposal called the Indo-Hittite Theory, but I have long supported it. The late Joseph Greenberg, one of the greatest historical linguists that ever lived, also supported it.
This theory holds that Indo-European has two branches, Indo-European proper and the Hittite branch. The Hittite branch is related to the other branch only in a binary fashion. There is good evidence for this.
The Anatolian languages, all of which are now extinct, are very strange and seem distant from the rest. The appear archaic and have retained many forms which seem to not be present on the rest of IE. My guess is these are archaic forms.
Anatolian lacks grammatical gender – masculine:feminine, an IE innovation spread through the family. Instead, it has an archaic noun class system called animate:inanimate. This is reminiscent of ancient Niger-Congo languages in Africa. In addition, the Anatolian vowel system is reduced (fewer vowels) and the case system is simpler.
Many basic IE vocabulary terms are simply missing in Anatolian. All of this debris tends to add up to the hypothesis of an ancient branch of the language family.
Tocharian is visible on the diagram as Italo-Celtic-Tocharian. This branch is extremely strange, since Tocharian was spoken way over in Asia near East Turkestan and Kyrgyzstan, and Celtic and Italic are spoken in the heart of Europe. This is the area where the mummies with blond hair and blue eyes have been found. Tocharian may have split as early as 6000 YBP.
The Tocharian language is also very ancient and strange and is only distantly related to the rest of IE. If anything, it seems to look somewhat like Anatolian.
A very ancient branch of IE also split off around this time. Known as Balkan or Paleo-Balkan, it may also have split off 6000 YBP. There were two major branches, Thracian and Illyro-Venetic. Thracian is extinct, and all that remains of Illyro-Venetic is Albanian, a very ancient IE tongue that is only distantly related to the rest of IE. Proto-Illyrian and Thracian split around 4200 YBP.
Here is a map of the Illyrian tribes before the Roman conquest. It is from this milieu that the Albanians emerged. The Albanian language is quite strange within IE and seems to have very ancient roots dating back to Proto-Paleo-Balkan from 6000 YBP.
Another very early split you can see in the chart is something called Indo-Irano-Armeno-Hellenic. The Armeno-Hellenic branch probably split off 6000 YBP. The fact that Armenians and Greeks today still possibly retain a PIE appearance is also suggested by this early split. Only the Greek languages and Armenian remain of this family, as most of the family is extinct.
Proto-Hellenic may have split off around 5000 YBP, and Proto-Armenian may have split around 4500 YBP. The proto-Hellenics seem to have been related to the Indo-Iranians. This may be why a number of North Indians look like Greeks, Turks or Armenians.
Armenian and Hellenic are also strange IE branches that are only distantly related to the rest of IE.
The Italo-Celtic branch broke off as early as 5000 YBP. Proto-Celtic split about 2800 YBP; the homeland is in Northern Austria. The Hallstatt Culture is associated with them. The Proto-Italics are dated to around 3500 YBP in Italy. Before that, the Italo-Celtic Homeland is thought to have been in southern and central Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia.
The fact that Italics (Italians and related languages) and Celts share common roots shows how insane and stupid Nordicism is, as Nordicists say that Italians south of the Po are ‘non-Whites.’ It turns out that those greasy dagos and those blond and blue guys in dresses blowing pipes in the Highlands are the same folks after all, as they share common genetic roots in Austria 3500 YBP.
Proto-Germanic also dates far back, with pre-Proto-Germanic possibly being spoken 3800 YBP in northern Germany, Denmark and Southern Scandinavia ( map). The homeland of the pre-proto-Germanics is in Southern Sweden and Jutland. They may have settled this area as early as 5000 YBP. These speakers may have been speaking something called Balto-Slavo-Germanic, a group you can see on the tree above.
Proto-Germanic proper probably dates from the Jasdorf Culture. The homeland of the proto-Germanics was in northern Germany, around Schleswig-Holstein south into the Lower Elbe region in what is now Saxony-Anhalt and the Hanover area.
It also extended along the Baltic coast of Germany to about the Polish border, down into Brandenburg and Mecklenburg. The original center of the homeland was in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony.
Balto-Slavic is also a very ancient branch of IE. Lithuanian is an ancient IE language that is very conservative and has retained many ancient IE reflexes that have been lost in the rest of IE. Proto-Balto-Slavic probably split around 4000 YBP. Proto-Baltic and Proto-Slavic split apart about 3400 YBP. Map of the Balto-Slavic homeland. This homeland encompassed Western Ukraine, Belarus and Eastern Poland.
Proto-Slavic, dating from 3400 YBP, seems to have its homeland in Northern and Western Ukraine and in Southern Belarus.
The proto-Baltic homeland dating from the same time frame is about the southern border region of Belarus around the Pinsk Marshes.
The rest of the splits, of Slavic, Italic, Celtic, Indian, Iranian and Germanic into their branches, are pretty well-documented, and all occur within the past 1500-3000 years.
Let us move to some interesting dilemmas about the Indo-Europeans. One is the distribution of R1a associated with the Indo-Europeans.
The highest levels of this haplogroup are found in Eastern Europe in a narrow band from the Black Sea in the Ukraine through Poland to the Baltic Sea and in Northern India and areas to the northwest around the Hindu Kush and the Pamirs, but that does not mean that these two groups are particularly closely related. Northern Indians are most closely related to Iranians and relatively distantly to Eastern Europeans.
The truth is that this haplogroup is only a signature of a split from around the Aryan-Greco homeland in the Pontic Steppe region discussed above. This left high levels of R1a in Eastern Europe and in north India. High levels in North India are not particularly notable but exist only due to a founder effect. Actually, the highest levels are not found in North India but in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and north Afghanistan.
The high levels found in North India have led some to assume incorrectly that the homeland of the R1a people was in that area, but this is not the case.
R1b levels are highest in Spain and the Western British Isles. The launching point for the R1b seems to have been the Maykop Culture of 5500 YBP. From there, they spread all over Europe.
The Maykop Culture was an early PIE split that existed between the Taman Peninsula just east of the Crimea east to the Dagestan border in the area that includes part of Southern Russia east of the Crimea, Adygea, Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya in the Caucasus.
The center of the culture was around Maykop in Adygea (Circassia). The region is now inhabited by peoples of the Caucasus and is heavily Muslim.
The Proto-Indo-Europeans belonged both R1a and R1b. Their homeland was in the Pontic-Caspian steppe, in what is known as the Kurgan culture (7000-2200 BCE).
The presence of R1b in modern times between the Black Sea and the Caucasus hints at the Maykop culture (3500-2500 BCE) as their most plausible homeland, while the Eurasian steppes to the north were R1a territory. […]
A comparison with the Indo-Iranian invasion of South Asia shows that 40% of the male lineages of northern India are R1a, but only 20% of the female lineages could be of Indo-European origin (H, J, K, T, U).
The impact of the Indo-Europeans was more severe in Europe because European society 4,000 years ago was less developed in terms of agriculture, technology (no bronze weapons) and population density than that of the Indus Valley civilization.
This is particularly true of the native Western European cultures where farming arrived much later than in the Balkans or central Europe. Greece was the most advanced of European societies and was the least affected in terms of haplogroup replacement.
Native European Y-DNA haplogroups (I1, I2a, I2b) also survived better in regions that were more difficult to reach or less hospitable, like Scandinavia, Brittany, Sardinia or the Dinaric Alps[…]
The eastern branch of the R1a steppe people was the Andronovo culture (2300-1000 BCE), around modern Kazakhstan, which correspond to the Indo-Iranian branch of languages. Their migration to the south have resulted in high R1a frequencies in southern Central Asia, Iran and the Indian subcontinent.
The highest frequency of R1a (about 65%) is reached in a cluster around Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan. In India, 15 to 45% of the population is R1a, depending on the region and caste. Over 70% of the Brahmins (highest caste in Hinduism) belong to R1a1, due to a founder effect.
- Pokorny, Julius. 1959, 2007. Proto-Indo-European Etymological Dictionary. A Revised Edition of Julius Pokorny’s Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch. Published on the Internet: Indo-European Language Revival Association.
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Here. What’s so barbaric about it anyway? Colonization is what’s barbaric.
More good news.
Hell with this peace accord crap.
Look, let’s cut the crap for just one second.
There is no such thing as “Northern Ireland”. There is a place called Ireland. One place. There are no two places, one called “Northern Ireland” and another called “Ireland.” “Northern Ireland” is part and parcel of a land called Ireland.
Yes, Britain maintains a British colony in the north. There is nothing unusual about this. Henry II went to Ireland over 800 years ago, and it’s been a British colony to a greater or lesser extent since. The first war of national liberation was in 1916, but not all of the land was freed. The north is still a colony of the British colonizer.
As such, the Irish people of the north are an occupied people just like the Palestinians. According to the UN Charter, occupied people have the right to use armed struggle to rid themselves of occupation. If it’s right for Palestinians, it’s right for the Irish. This is why the PFLP had an alliance with the IRA for a bit.
From the Bar Kokba Revolt to Pontiac’s Rebellion to the Battle of Algiers, it’s one extended tapestry, chapters in a novel with an unchanging plot.
Colonialism is either right or it’s wrong. This is a progressive axiom. Not right sometimes, but wrong other times.
As you may have guessed, of course this blog supports the IRA.