Category Archives: Economics

A Motto of the Alt Left, Via Liberation Theology

La gente, unida! Jamas sera vencido!

The people, united! Will never be defeated!

– An old Castroite Marxist revolutionary chant from Central America and South America, with roots back especially to the great Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the FMLN in El Salvador (who I used to buy guns for), the URNG in Guatemala, probably the ELN in Colombia, and probably the great FARC in Colombia.

All of these movements except the FARC were “Christian Communists” or “Catholic Communists.” Most of the rank and file guerrillas all the way up to the leadership were Catholics. In Nicaragua, leader Daniel Ortega was and still is a practicing Catholic and one of the top leaders of the Sandinistas was Tomas Borge, a Catholic priest. The ELN was led by a former Catholic priest named Camilo Torres, who traded his frock for an AK-47 and led a guerrilla group in the mountains of northwestern Colombia. He was killed soon after he started the ELN in 1964. The ELN has never renounced its Catholic roots and is a de facto “Catholic Marxist” organization.

 

The Eastern Catholic Church or Eastern Orthodox have been much more progressive than the  Catholic hierarchy, but that was not so at the  beginning of the century when the Cheka executed over 12,000 top ranking Orthodox officials in first several years of the Revolution. The Russian Orthodox Church or at least many believers are quite leftwing these days. They often hobnob with Communists, Leftists and even monarchists. Even the monarchists are pretty leftwing in Russia today.  Russia is a place where everyone is leftwing. There is no Right in Russia. Well actually there is,  but the Right has only 10-15% support. Putin’s party is defined as “Russian conservatism” but Putin says he still believes in the  ideals of Communism and socialism which he regards as very similar to the Biblical values of the Russian Orthodox Church. This marriage is not unusual and high ranking Church officials even today regularly make pro-socialist and pro-Communist remarks. Sort of ” Jesus as a Bolshevik” if you will. Stalin himself was studying to be a priest in a sen\minary of the Georgian Orthodox Church when he gave it up to be a full-time bank robber/revolutionary.  The thing is that you cannot understand Stalin at all until you understand his deep background in the Orthodox religion. Although Stalin called himself an atheist, he remained deeply Orthodox in  his mindset until he died. He ever revived the Church during and after the war for patriotic reasons. Stalin was very much a social conservative and his social conservatism was deeply inflected by his Georgian Orthodox seminarian roots, which he never renounced.

The Orthodox Christian churches of the Arab World have always been leftwing, along with the Church in Iran and Turkey. George Habash, founder of the Marxist PFLP in Palestine, was a Greek Orthodox. Many of the rank and file even of the PFLP armed guerrilla have always been Orthodox Christians. The Greek Orthodox SSNP in Lebanon and Syria are practically Communists. Interestingly, this was the first group to widely use suicide bombings early in 1982 and 1983 in the first years of the Lebanese Civil War. Most of the first suicide bombings, up to scores or hundreds in first few years, were by Communists, often Christian Orthodox Communists. Many of these suicide bombers were even women. It was only later that the Shia adopted the technique.

The man who created the Baath Party, the Iraqi Michel Aflaq, was an Orthodox Christian. The party had Leftist roots as an officially socialist party. Tariq Aziz, high-ranking member of Saddam’s Baath party, was an Orthodox Christian and a Leftist. Assad’s party in Syria is a Leftist party. Most Syrian Orthodox Christians are strong supporters of Assad, the Baath Party and Leftism. Recently the Syrian Defense Minister was a Christian.

The few Orthodox Christians left in Turkey are typically Leftists.

Many Greek Orthodox are Leftists. Serbian Orthodox laypeople and hierarchy long supported Milosevic, who was a Communist.

The Russians who violently split away from Ukraine in the Donbass were so Leftist that they called their new states “people’s republics.” Most of the leadership and the armed forces are Orthodox Christians. The armed groups had priests serving alongside in most cases. They often led battlefield burials for the troops.

There are deep roots of this sort of thing in Russia. Tolstoy is very Christian in an Orthodox sense, but he is also often seen as a socialist. Dostoevsky’s work is uber-Christian from an Orthodox point of view and he is not very friendly to radicals. However, before he started writing, he was arrested for Leftist revolutionary activities and sentenced to prison in Siberia. Most of his colleagues were hanged and Dostoevsky only barely escaped by the tip of his nose. Dostoevsky was not very nice to the rich either. No Russian writer of that time was, not even Turgenev. The rich destroyed 19th Century Russia. Anyone with eyes can see that. It would have been hard for any artistic heart above room temperature to not hate the Russian rich and feel sympathy for the peasantry. Turgenev’s first books were paeans to the Russian peasantry, and he was raised on an estate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Catholic Communism: The Story of the Catholic Left in Europe

The link between Catholicism and the Left has been ongoing for some time now. In Eastern Europe, especially in Czechoslovakia, Catholic Communists were common enough to form an actual movement. Obviously there were Catholic Communists in Spain and particularly in the Basque Country. The ETA was virtually a Catholic Communist revolutionary movement. The armed Left, especially the Communists, started killing priests in the Spanish Civil War. Although burning churches has been an odd tradition in Spain for a good century now, the actual killing of priests did not go over well. Of course the same could be said of the great IRA in Ireland, most of whom were Catholics.

In Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania, unfortunately, the Catholics were virulently anti-Communist for whatever reason. The Communists under Stalin brutally repressed the church, killing many priests and lay workers. In Poland and Ukraine, Catholicism got wrapped up in an anti-Communism in a horrible way. One of the main beefs against Communism particularly in Poland was that the Communists were not only anti-nationalists but mostly that they were anti-Catholic. At any rate, Catholicism and nationalism are so wrapped together in Poland that one can hardly see where one ends and the other begins.

Nevertheless, most of the virulent Polish nationalist Catholic anti-Communist were committed socialists. However, many of these folks who were often also anti-Semites as these Poles linked Communism with Jews. Anti-Semitism in Poland is as old as dirt. Yitzhak Rabin once noted that Poles learn their anti-Semitism at their mother’s breast – it’s that deeply rooted in the culture. There was a nationalist rally in Poland recently that drew a huge crowd of 50,000. One of the things that they demanded was a Judenfrei Poland. The problem is that there are probably no more than 4,000 Jews in Poland to this day. One wonders what evil effects such a tiny community could have on the national body politic, yet this shows you the intensity and paranoia of Polish antisemitism.

In Eastern Europe, there is a big difference between a socialist and a Communist. Almost everyone you meet in Eastern Europe is a socialist or practically one, although Poland is particularly pathetic in this regard, a sorry habit in light of the centuries of abuse the reactionary feudal lords committed against the 95% serf Poles for centuries. The Polish ruling class is still feudal in nature and has changed little since the days of the lords of the land. It also has deep ties to a deeply conservative Polish army, which has always had strong links to the feudal royal ruling classes.

It is a little told story, but when Communism first came to Poland, it was quite popular, particularly among the downtrodden peasants. It was also very popular among the urban proletariat and to some extent among intellectuals. But the brutality of the Polish Communists working in the model of Stalin quickly doomed the project. The Polish Communists were hoist on their own petard. Even Stalin recognized the futility of the project. “Imposing Communism on the Poles,” Stalin said, “Was like trying to put a saddle on a cow.” Basically doomed from Day one.

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Go to Hell, Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is crap.

I just spent five days over there, and I can affirm that it’s definitely crap. If this is the future, then the future is junk. This is it, folks. This is Late Capitalism. This is the dream capitalism of the future. This is the capitalist dream we all love.

But this is crap. Who says this is good? What kind of Homo sapiens thinks this is the right way to live our lives as humans. Silicon Valley is crap. Silicon Valley rents are crap. Silicon Valley politics (NIMBY Libertarianism) is crap. Silicon Valley prices are crap. Silicon Valley housing prices are crap. Silicon Valley workaholism is crap. Silicon Valley groovy liberal CEO’s are crap. Silicon Valley Democratic “progressive” politics is crap. Elon Musk is crap. Four hour a day commutes are crap. 18 hour workdays, 7 days a week are crap. No dating is crap. Silicon Valley $184,000/yr to live a middle class family lifestyle is crap. Silicon Valley no affordable housing for their low wage workers is crap, and even worse, failed crap.

Do you realize that rents are so expensive now that there are tech workers (generally a well-paid occupation) who can’t even afford rent in San Francisco. They reportedly ride the damned buses all night and get their sleep there. It’s legal to do that. They shower at the gym and change their clothes there too I guess. They are living this insane gutter bum lifestyle so they can have a dream job at a Silicon Valley firm, the dream of all American workers.

All Silicon Valley capitalists are union-busters. Elon Musk, God of Silicon Valley, is one of the worst ones of them all. Musk is just a capitalist. All capitalists are crap. They’re all union-busters. Just because Musk and some of the others are better capitalists than the rest of the capitalist ratfucks doesn’t mean he isn’t a ratfuck too. There’s no such thing as a decent capitalist. If you are decent, the competition will eat you alive. If you are decent and you go public, the stockholders will fire you.

When I was on vacation over there, I figured out that in order to spend 1/3 of your income on rent (which is the only sane calculation of rent affordability), in Mountain View, you would have to be making $72,000/year or $6,000/month. That is because a Goddamned one bedroom apartment costs $2,000/month. Silicon Valley is so expensive that even its own policemen, firefighters and schoolteachers can’t even afford to live there. Silicon Valley cities actually build low cost subsidized housing for their own schoolteachers. You know what? That’s crap.

Many people who work in Silicon Valley commute 2-3 hours each way,  often coming from the Central Valley as that is the only place they can find affordable rents. That’s a sick joke. Commuting four hours a day is bullshit. All over the town I was staying in, Mountain View, there were Help Wanted signs in every store for low level positions. They are dying, screaming for workers over there. But there’s no place for those workers to live. On $10/hour minimum wage, all of your income goes for rent on the 1 bedroom.  There’s $0 left for anything else. Silicon Valley has no place for its low wage workers to live! Capitalism fail!

This is the dream. The dream is crap.

Enjoy your late capitalism, idiots.

Capitalism Fail 101.

 

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Alt Left: Capitalism: A Smashing Success the World Over

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Whoops, I guess not.

That part about five vacant houses for every homeless person is particularly striking. Furthermore, this strikes me as a profound inefficiency, something the capitalists are always accusing socialism of.

And the fact that we grow enough food to feed the whole world, yet 1 billion go hungry and 18 million die of poverty every year also strikes me as profound inefficiency.

I would add that those homes are indeed occupied – they are occupied by the dead hand of Capital.

“Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.”

– Karl Marx

Kind of hard to argue with Marx. That cold, head hand of Capital, that zombie plague that sucks out everything vital that makes our lives worth living, is one of the things that capitalist fanboys swoon about the most. It makes you wonder what sort of person is a capitalist fanboy? A sociopath?

Obviously the system is working. Working for someone, that is. The 1%. The question is, is it working for you?

One wonders how aliens would react if they landed here and we gleefully told them about how wonderful our system was. I mean, the greediest, cruelest, most sociopathic of all succeed and end up ruling society while almost everyone else fails relatively speaking?

In what sane universe could that possibly be a logical system? What’s so rational about it? It’s about as rational as a Goddamned wild jungle. With all of our vast intellect and knowledge, we cannot even improve on the brutality of the raw, cruel world of Nature – dirt, weeds, bugs, birds, minnows, and critters? We can’t even beyond that bullshit? Pathetic.

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Human Civilization as Collectivism in Action, or Nothing New under the Sun

Most great theories have one or often more intellectual precursors.

Check out the idea that Charles Darwin invented the Theory of Evolution. In a sense, of course he did, but there were definitely more than a few folks playing around with it before he did. What Darwin did more than anything else was to lay out the theory in a pure, connected and conclusive form. The others were tinkering around the edges, playing with the idea, tossing theoretical coins in the air. All of this is valuable, but it takes the masterstroke of a great genius to lay it out brilliantly and conclusively once and for all.

As my mother likes to say, “People have been writing for thousands of years. There aren’t a whole lot of new ideas floating around.”

Really most all theory is plagiarism. We are all building on blocks that have been laid down before us, just as creation and evolution build on the chemicals and adaptations that proceeded to them to create brand new forms that look little like their forerunners.

There is noting new under the sun.

– Famous quote.

My own take on the quote above is that no matter how brilliant you think your theory or idea or even line of prose is, I am pretty sure that someone has written it down before, and if not spoken it, and even more likely, thought of it.

Bottom line is that scientific theory is not as individualist as capitalist fanboys think. Scientific theory is a collectivist effort, as is nearly all of human evolution. No man is an island, not even Marlon Brando, who is about as big as one. Alone we produce nearly nothing. Together we have produced and innovated the whole of human experience and achievement. Sit every human off in his own cubicle in the ultimate individualist experiment and see how far it gets you, Randtards. Not far I assure you.

+1 for us collectivists.

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Just Got a Lifetime Ban from Daily Kos

Daily Kos is Ground Zero for the Base of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party’s Base is more leftwing than the party itself in the same way that the Republican Base is more rightwing than the party itself. Party Bases tend to be like that. The Base of the Democratic Party would best be called the Left Wing of the Democratic Party. Now granted, there are some decent people on there. There are actually a fair number of Marxists and socialists hanging out in the Democratic Party Base.  After all, they have nowhere else to go. But this is a quite small percentage of the Base.

I have been banned for life from Daily Kos, and honestly it is a blessing because I absolutely despise most Democratic Party liberal types. The problem with them is that there’s nothing liberal about them. In any sane system, they would be something like what used to be called a Liberal Republican. They just flat out suck!

Their foreign policy is horrific. Almost all liberal Democrats are ((neocon)) fanatics. The whole left wing of the Democratic Party is completely overrun with a ((certain type of people)). As usual, they destroy that wing of the party as a result. They love Israel! The Democratic Party can’t get enough of wonderful Israel. Wonderful Israel is the greatest country on Earth.

Almost 100% of them support the war against the Syrian people we are waging with our Al Qaeda and ISIS allies. They hate Russia! They love the Ukrainian Nazis! Yeah, I know, makes no sense. They love Israel and they also love Al Qaeda, ISIS and real actual Nazis in the Ukraine. But that’s the exact geopolitics of (((certain people))) in the US, and as (((these people))) control this wing of the party, (((their))) values become everyone’s values. The love NATO! They hate North Korea, and some of them want to attack North Korea! They love US imperialism! They love the Pentagon! They love the CIA! They love the FBI!

Everyone on Kos loved this maniac named “Mad Dog” Maddis, the new general heading  up the Pentagon under Trump. Personally, I think he’s psycho, and he’s just another War Pig. Actually he’s worse than your ordinary War Pig. He’s a particularly belligerent type of militarist War Pig. A very frightening man.

And of course that whole wing of the party has been taken over by some time now by the most insane of the SJW’s.

They love free trade agreements! I would say 85% of Kossacks love the TPP, all because their hero Hitlery was pushing it. Kossacks suck! They love globalization!

They are all for Open Borders and Amnesty! As a matter of fact, I believe it has been a bannable offense on there for some time now to oppose illegal immigration.

I will say though that there are now some anti-Israel and anti-Zionist types on there. There are a few who support Syria and even some who support Russia. These might be 20% of Kossacks. However, Israel has become such a divisive hot button issue that I believe all discussion of the Israel-Palestinian Question has been banned. It’s nice to see that the Israel-Palestine Question has become incendiary at all in the Democratic Base though. Things are slowly changing.

There was actually a huge Bernie Sanders movement on Daily Kos, and there was a near civil war between Killary and Sanders supporters on there. Mods were continually having to wade in and sort out wild shouting matches and near virtual fistfights on the site. I did enjoy seeing the emergence of a Bernie wing. The one redeeming feature of the Base right now is this Bernie wing. Hope springs eternal!

On most economic type issues, Kossacks are generally very good. Of course they’re correct that this current crop of Republicans is worse than cancer. I agree. In fact, these Kossacks are the closest thing to “my people” anywhere on the Web. Which is partly why the ban was so painful.

OK, now for the ban story.

A Kossack wrote a typical article on there about one of the many false flags the (((US))) and Al Qaeda have been staging in Syria. This one was one of the many fake chemical weapons false flags. Unbelievably, there have been ~40-50 chemical weapons false flag attacks in Syria so far. The (((US government))) helped to propagandize every single one of them, and we were apparently directly involved in others.

I know that the DIA was directly involved in the famous Fake Sarin Gas Attack in Ghouta in the Damascus suburbs a few years ago. As has been the case in a number of these attacks, not only did Assad not shoot any Sarin or any other chemical weapons that day, even more bizarrely than that is the fact there was no Sarin of chemical weapons attack by anyone, Syria or the rebels, in Ghouta that day. The Fake Sarin Attack was like the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and all sorts of staged false flag bullshit the US engages in.

This was an attack that, incredibly, never even happened! We are talking about an event that never even occurred! Isn’t that incredible? The recent “Sarin” attack in Khan Sheikoun was similar. Once again, not only did Assad not shoot Sarin or any other chemical weapons (he has none to shoot), but the rebels didn’t either. Once again we are talking about an attack that never even happened. What happened instead, as in Ghouta, was a fake staged phony attack which was meant to portray the real one.

Anyway, this (((good goy))) on ((Kos)) was going on about the evil Assad, how he launches chemical weapons on his people and how we need to send our close allies ISIS and Al Qaeda in to finish him off. The usual Zionist jerkoff on (((Kos))). The place is swarming with Zionists. They are practically crawling all of the walls and even up on the ceiling of the place.

So I posted a comment where I said something like:

“What’s the name of your hometown? Tel Aviv?”

Basically questioning his loyalty to America and suggesting that he was guilty of dual loyalty.

Well, the other (((Kossacks))) absolutely flipped out and called in some (((moderators))). I was immediately labeled a Republican Trump-supporting troll. The (((commenters))) were beside themselves about my “outrageous, bizarre and appallingly anti-Semitic remark.” On the contrary, I was quite proud of that remark. Hey, if you are running interference for Israel, we have a right to check you out to make sure you do not have dual loyalty as so many of those types do.

So now I have a lifetime ban at ((Daily Kos)) for “anti-Semitism.”

Fuck ((Daily Kos)). Fuck the ((Democratic Party)). Fuck ((liberal Democrats)).

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Alt Left: One of My Heroes

ac7kgfr56cfyWho is this man and what is he known for? What did he do and what happened to him?

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Filed under Chile, Economics, Latin America, Left, Regional, Socialism, South America

Jesus Was a Socialist

Modern Protestant Prosperity Doctrine is such a perversion of the spirit of Christianity that it can only be seen as a heresy.

Jesus famously said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into Heaven.” This comment is very poorly understood – most seem to think he is talking about a camel actually walking through the eye of a sewing needle, which is of course not possible. However, at the time, “The Eye of the Needle” was a pass high in the mountains of Palestine. It was indeed passable, but it was such an ardous climb over such rugged mountains that many camels simply could not hack the trek and were not able to accomplish the journey. Hence, it was possible for a camel to go through the Eye of the Needle, but it was not an easy task at all, and many simply could not cut it. And so it was with the rich and their chances of heavenly grace and redemption according to Jesus.

Liberation Theology, the Catholic doctrine of the Social Gospel updated and radicalized in Latin America to “Jesus with a machine gun” was utilized by many armed guerrilla groups as a religion of revolution, even armed revolution.

The philosophy of this doctrine was to preach for “the preferential option of the poor,” and this is right in accord with Catholic Social Gospel if not a supercharged form of it. It is seen in Latin America as a nearly subversive and even insurrectionist doctrine, and in a sense it is, although most LT preachers and lay people are not armed.

In fact, Venezuelan Bolivarianism or Chavismo was profoundly influenced by Liberation Theology and there is evidence that many of the other New Left regimes in Latin America were also. LT was a huge influence on the Sandinistas, the FMLN guerrillas and now politicians in El Salvador, the ELN in Colombia (founded by an actual priest with a machine gun, Camilo Torres), the PT of Lula and Dilma Youssef in Brazil, Evo Morales in Bolivia, possibly Correa in Ecuador and certainly Paraguay under Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, a former priest and guerrilla who ruled that land until a US sponsored coup removed him.

The Lavalas Movement in Haiti of Jon Bertrand Aristide, also removed in a US-sponsored coup, was profoundly influenced by LT; in fact, Aristide himself was a preacher of Liberation Theology.

In recent decades, there has been a lot of discussion in Cuba about a “Catholic Communism” and now that believers may join the party, this movement seems to be on an upswing. The novel doctrine was that Catholicism and Marxism were indeed compatible with each other instead of being oxymoronic. Castro himself stated that he was a “social Catholic” a few years before he died.

The extent to which LT has influenced the regimes of Batchelet in Chile or Fernandez in Argentina, the former guerrillas in power in Uruguay under Jose Mujica, or Ollanta Humala in Peru is not known, although there were many LT preachers in Peru a few decades ago, and incredibly enough, many priests actually supported the Shining Path.

But the Social Gospel, Liberation Theology, and the “Catholic Communism” that developed in some European lands in the 20th Century have much more in common with a pure interpretation of Jesus’ teaching than the individualist and materialist Protestantism that developed in the US. “Jesus was a socialist” always makes more sense than “Jesus was a capitalist,” although most Evangelicals are loath to admit this. Nevertheless, they squirm and act uncomfortable when you bring it up, so it shows that on some level they at least worry it is true.

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Suicide: The Ultimate Enigma

Becoming suicidal is often but not always indicative of mental illness. Philosophically, it simply means that you do not want to live anymore, and you don’t have to be nuts to feel way. Life’s hard for everyone, and at some point, a lot of people just can’t take it anymore and want to bail out or end the pain. Indeed, a person certainly feels no more pain after suicide.

People kill themselves for all sorts of reasons. Only 70% of suicides are clinically depressed. A lot of people commit suicide simply out of boredom, believe it or not. Some people seem to do it for absolutely no reason at all. It’s as if they did it for shits and giggles or as a way of trolling the human race. I suppose in a way, suicide is the ultimate troll. Suicides are trolling the whole damn world, every one of us.

Suicide is a mystery.

We have been studying it forever, and we still hardly know a thing about it. A man wrote a big book on suicide a while back, and at the end of the book he said he didn’t understand suicide any better at the end than when he had started.

Some countries have high suicide rates, and no one seems to know why. Other countries have low suicide rates, and no one knows why.

Hungary had high suicide rates under feudalism, monarchy, fascism, communism and now democracy. People killed themselves at the same rate in all systems.

The Japanese have always had a high suicide rate, and no one knows why. Impoverished North Korea has an extremely low suicide rate while next door ultra-wealthy Japan has a very high rate. There is no good explanation for the difference.

 

It may be cultural. Some societies may be more pro-suicide than others.

Anti-socialists like to say that Swedes have a high suicide rate. They claim that Swedish socialism gives people everything they need and maybe want, but it leaves them bored and unmotivated and hopeless to improve their lot, so they end it all. But all places on Earth at that latitude have a high suicide rate. It is so dark half the year that the sun only comes out for a few hours a day, and it is cold all the time. There are high suicide rates in Norway, Iceland, Finland, Estonia, Russia (especially Siberia), Alaska, Northern Canada, and Greenland. Anyway, the Swedes had a high suicide rate even before socialism. Other countries have an identical system to Swedish socialism, and they have low suicide rates.

Actually, the suicide rate was comparatively low in the USSR and Eastern Europe under communism. However, with the transition to capitalism in 1990, suicide rates skyrocketed over the next 10-15 years as did forms of slow suicide such as drinking oneself to death. So the Communism/socialism causes suicide theory seems to be washed up. If anything, suicide seems to be linked to capitalism a lot more than it is linked to socialism or Communism.

Nigeria is one of the most hellish and nightmarish places on Earth at least from my perspective, and from any point of view, it’s basically a shithole. In fact, it is probably one of the foulest shitholes on Earth. Yet Nigerians typically among the happiest people on Earth. They’re smiling amid the stinking, crime-infested, ultraviolent ruins, while the Swedes and Japs are blowing their brains out in lavish apartments drowning in luxury.

Go figure.

Bottom line is that a lot of human behavior is either not easily explained or simply doesn’t seem to make much sense at all. People feel however they do for whatever reasons they do, and it’s often hard to figure out why.

At the end of the day, human behavior is largely a mystery.

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Poland Talks Alt Left! Polish Left Political Journal Discusses the Alt Left movement with a Focus on My and Rabbit’s Writing: “Race Realism, Or Center-Left on Culture,” by Michael Smolen

Race Realism, Or Center-Left on Culture

MICHAŁ SMOLEŃ

Writer for Respubliki Nowa. He writes about social philosophy and innovation.

March 13, 2017

Krytyka Polityczna

Two marginal racist bloggers from the US claim to start a new movement on the Left.

We are beautifully different on the Left, and it’s one of the great things about us.. Each leftwing tendency focuses on a slightly different target group and offers a slightly different view of the world situation. So it is worthwhile to rise above the divisions, often driven more by personal conflict than actual ideology, and to open ourselves up to the entire spectrum of the leftwing media, all the way from liberal center-left to very radical. Disagreement is natural, and ferment is creative. Sometimes, nevertheless, people on the left advocate disappointing ideologies that are hard for the rest of us to get behind.

THE LATEST FASHION

The article started out interesting anyway: “I would like to criticize the leftwing of the Vistula backwater for not being aware of the latest leftwing tendencies emanating from our leftwing brethren from the Fatherland of the World Creative Class” – begins an article about the “Alt Left” written by Dr. Hab. Jaroslaw Tomasiewicz which appeared in New Citizen, a Polish leftwing social justice magazine. I regard foreign influences as inevitable and often useful, so naturally I was interested in this new leftwing movement outside the mainstream which has so far escaped my attention.

After today often encountered failure characteristics “Hipster-Left”, focused on easy wojenkach culture, the author writes about the new collective actor on the political scene, “The Alt Right – a rebirth of the “Old Hard Right” – ethnopolitical, traditionalist, populist – in a new postmodern form. A sort of return to the roots. And the Alt Right managed to overcome the Mainstream Left on its own home turf: to win the support or the workers by emphasizing economics and de-emphasizing cultural issues. Think a somewhat obsolete Thomas Frank.

A flashing red light at this point heralds a warning. Did Donald Trump really gain the support of part of the White working class through the efforts of the teenage racist trolls under the leadership of Richard Spencer – the elegant (at least when not performing a Seig Heil), erudite, and informal leader of the Alt Right?

You are probably thinking of the Centrist Democrats so disliked by Tomasiewicz. It seems however that the notion that the anti-elitist mood of working class Trump voters (many of whom supported Obama in the past) was powered by the notions of the Alt Right leader Spencer is not only factually questionable but also overly bleak in that it elides the appeal of Trump to a section of the electorate steeped in US nationalism. Or perhaps this is just a problem of the Old Left?

Tomasiewicz :

Some believe that the challenge posed by the Alt Right requires a symmetrical response: the creation of an alternative to the Mainstream Left emphasizing the forgotten foundations of Leftism, such as the primacy of economics over culture, the relationship of the base to the superstructure, and a return to the Marxian thesis that ‘existence shapes consciousness.’

Next there is a quote from a manifesto from Alternative Left writer Robert Lindsay proclaiming,

We will be leftwing on economic matters […] but rather Centrist in the sphere of culture.

Tomasiewicz later cites another vague point in Lindsay’s manifesto of the Alternative Left. This vision paints a picture of the Social Democratic movement distanced from the alleged excesses of Cultural Left, materialistic in the old style, although “small and diverse” – which, although it should not be imitated in the dark (we as Poles have common sense), nevertheless deserves our at least with fingers crossed.

RACIAL REALISM

So what’s wrong with this picture? More than you’d expect. The author refers to two online sources for information about the Alt Left, and clicking on either of them reveals some rather disturbing content. The Altleft.com site notes at the top of the page that it is The Left Wing of the Alt Right. Nothing dziwnegi therefore that it is enough time to go through the lengthy scraps to find the few real gems. In the text quoted by Tomasiewicz, we find this passage:

Though I disagree with him on some ideological points…It just so happens that I support Richard Spencer and repeatedly defended him when some oversensitive (and often sanctimonious) factions or some prominent individuals of the AltRight unsuccessfully tried to sacrifice him to improve the image of the movement.

In another text by the author of the site (who goes by the pseudonym “Rabbit”) in response to an appeal to downplay the racial aspect of the Alternative Left brand, he said:

The Alt Left always been about race realism and gender realism. This is the whole fucking nail on the head!

What is race realism? It’s the familiar old and frightening idea that believes in biological differences between “races” of people, eg. in terms of IQ, which it stipulates as very important for races to gain social or political significance. AltLeft.com openly promotes White Nationalism, and at the same time is quite honest, which clearly shows in the title of one of his posts talking about the “unreality” of nonracist “race realism”. The post notes the hypocrisy of the supposedly nonracist race realists and asks a rhetorical question:

“What’s wrong with hatred anyway?”

What of the second author of the Alternative Left manifesto commented on by Tomasiewicz? Robert Lindsay is a prolific blogger who refers to himself as a “liberal race realist” (the title of his previous ideological project), who rejects Political Correctness and “Cultural Marxism” and in their stead proposes “positive White identity” and masculinity for men (to fight Gender Feminism and Radical Feminism).

Once again though – it is not difficult to see where Lindsay is really coming from. Although in the manifesto quoted by Tomasiewicz, Lindsay rejects “racist fascism”, it begins with an attack on the Black Lives Matter movement and ridicules people who talk about White privilege or have an “obsession about structural racism.”

According to Lindsay, to belong to Alt Left, one should accept “racial realism”, which is one of the three pillars of Alt Left ideology – the other two are leftwing views on economics, to which Lindsay moreover dedicates little space, and a special form of moral libertinism who boils down to formally supporting the basic rights of minorities combined with a gut hatred against the movements that are fighting for those very rights.

Lindsay seems to be less directly hateful – and more eccentric – than Rabbit, but his journalism nevertheless includes discussions about the abominations of gay sexual practices, alleged reasons why women cannot lead Western civilization, and complaints about aggressive and obnoxious “Jewy Jews” who are themselves responsible for anti-Semitism.

As for the Alt Left, this is all we need to know about it right here. Tomasiewicz refers only to Lindsay and the author of a blog about the “Left Wing of Alt Right” because that’s all there is to the Alternative Left. Otherwise, the concept still appears occasionally as a rhetorical device in journalism, primarily as an insult. So the entirety of this new and noteworthy movement is a small group of readers of two marginal blogs that are attempting to enrich the standard White Nationalism of the Alt Right with an aversion to neoliberalism and a promotion of anti-feminist libertarianism (the latter being merely a rejecting the traditionally conservative views of women).

LEFT PRIEST JOHN

The detailed reasons why this leftwing website published a fictitious post about a couple of marginal racists in the chronicle New Citizen are not something that should concern readers. Suffice to say that it is difficult to believe in the sincerity of the author, who was after all the one who first discovered the sites of these bloggers. Why did he go out of his way to ferret out these marginal bloggers? Nevertheless, I do not think however that one could accuse the editor-in-chief of tolerance for “race realism,” nor is the readership enthusiastic about this concept.

The case recalls to me deeper concerns of some Polish Left intellectuals’ dislike for the “Left of Manners” or Cultural Left. Often it is not so much about the demands of this faction but more about the alleged incompatibility of this project with the conservative nature of the Polish people. These charges are often simply unfair.

For this often based on fantasies – Maciej Gdula in Political Critique accurately dismantled the idea of the conservatism of the people that is shared by anti-elitist liberals as well as the current anti-elitist Left. A plea to keep the Left only about the workers and to reject helping different minorities seems particularly unfair when we look at the development in recent years of leftwing movements and characters (like Total in Poland or Bernie Sanders in the US), fully and harmoniously integrating cultural issues and economics.

The spectacular failure of this article on the “Alternative Left” to resonate on the Polish Left brings to light another problem. This article published in the New Citizen is the modern equivalent of the medieval legend about the state ruled by Father John, a Christian enclave somewhere in the distant Orient.

We can see that the Cultural Left is an imaginary issue on the Left in anecdotes written by various intellectuals as diverse as Remigiusz Okraska, Stephen Twardoch and David Wildstein that the notion of the good old-fashioned Polish people who do not care about these newfangled cultural oddities is every year moving further from reality.

Tomasiewicz article, in which the role of Father John played the Richard Spencer, stands out as an apology for some particularly nasty and in the Polish context completely unacceptable notions such as race realism (perhaps even our extremist ONR does not openly promote the idea of biological racism). We need only barely scrape the surface of almost any “Morally Centrist” manifesto’s concern for ordinary people to see the usual hatred and disgust for certain disadvantaged groups – sometimes consciously  but more often probably not. In this situation, to put on a mask of folk naiveté seems to be at best frivolous and at worst insincere and wicked, and we have not even begun to deal with the extreme views of of Rabbit of AltLeft.com which go so much further than that.

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