Category Archives: Revolution

Something Conservatives Will Never Understand: Armed Leftwing Revolutions Only Happen in Horrible Countries

I will grant that Colombia is more rightwing than the US, but at least they have a great Left. Hell, the Left down there is actually armed for Chrissake! They have guns, bombs, RPG’s full battle uniforms, you name it, and they use their weapons all the time to kill the conservative police and army, who very much deserve it.

This shows what happens when your society goes too rightwing or when your rightwing goes too rightwing. Not only do you get a monstrous, fascist, usually murderous Right, but, just as sure as night follows day, you end up with a very radical Left that in many cases arms itself against the murderous Right.

Extremes beget extremes. Do you really need to read Marx to figure that out? Hell, I bet I could explain that to a 5th grader and they would nod their head in agreement.

But show me an American conservative anywhere who agrees with that statement. Nope, according to the US Establishment, the radical Left rises out of ether for no apparent reason at all other than sheer fanatical evil to overthrow the capitalism that their ideology orders them to blindly hate.

While the USSR was still around, it was a convenient White Whale for any stirrings of the radical Left.

Why is the Left armed to the teeth down there, killing people left and right? Well, Number One is just because they are evil. Idiots, but evil idiots.

Are they taking up arms for any reason? Of course not, there is never an indigenous reason for any Left revolution. Well, what’s the cause of it? Cuba! And the USSR! The Cubans and the Russians put them up to it! Oh God, what crap this is. But this is the ideology of the entire US political establishment and the entire US media for decades now. And it is the lunatic ideology of the vast majority of the American people since 1946.

We lie like this because the truth is hard to swallow.

The Communists were not stupid. The individual CP’s in various countries generally felt that only when the capitalist conditions in the country approached a truly horrorshow of a Hell would there be reason for revolution. Otherwise they would always try to take power by peaceful means. Many a CP ruled many, many times that the country was not in a revolutionary situation and hence taking up arms was not justified. I can’t tell you how many documents I have read that said X country was not in a revolutionary situation right now so taking up arms was illegitimate.

Taking up arms was always an extreme last resort for any CP in any country. And when people did take up arms in what was seen as a non-revolutionary situation, as with the Shining Path in Peru, the vast majority of the Left lined up with the state against the Marxist rebels. Nevertheless, even in those cases there were variables. Towards the end the situation in Peru had gotten so horrific with the war and the monstrous turn of the state into a murderous charnelhouse that a number of parties around 1992 declared that the country was now in a revolutionary situation and it was acceptable to take up arms. That is why a number of other groups took up arms in 1992 at the peak of the war.

In many cases, CP’s even cruelly denied help to local CP’s on the grounds that they were not in a revolutionary situation.

Every American hates North Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh, but he was a rational man and North Vietnam was a reasonable state.

After the cancelled elections of 1954 which were ruined by the US (the UN ordered elections in the country, and the US ordered South Vietnam not to participate), the South Vietnamese Communist Party (really the Viet Cong) tried to obtain power by peaceful means. They were not armed with a single bullet. Nevertheless, with strong US support, the South Vietnamese government murdered 80,000 unarmed South Vietnamese Communist civilians between 1954-1960.

All this time, the South Vietnamese Communists were asking for permission from North Vietnam to take up arms. The North consistently refused armed support, so 80,000 Communists died. This shows you how grave most CP’s thought the decision to take up arms was. Finally in 1960, the North gave the South permission to take up arms, and the war was on. As you can see, South Vietnam started the Vietnam War by killing 80,000 unarmed civilians with the enthusiastic help of the US. The Viet Cong actually took up arms in self-defense. They simply got tired of sitting in their villages and waiting for the government to come murder them. They decided that if the state was going to try to kill them anyway, they might as well pick up a gun and defend themselves against the killers.

If you study most Communist revolutions in the 20th Century, this was the case in almost every single one of them. The decision to take up arms was only a last resort when conditions in the country deteriorated drastically and in particular when all peaceful methods of change were blocked. In the 20th Century, Communists almost always took up arms grudgingly, as a last resort and typically in self defense.

If you had a decent country, you never had to worry about an armed Left rebellion. If you had a shithole, well, a Left revolution was definitely something to worry about. The conclusion here is that every country that had an armed Left revolution in the 20th Century basically asked for it and got what they deserved. It was the fault of the leaders of every one of those countries for making conditions so horrible that the Left took up arms in the first place.

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Filed under Asia, Capitalism, Cold War, Colombia, Conservatism, Economics, Fascism, History, Journalism, Latin America, Latin American Right, Left, Marxism, Modern, Peru, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Revolution, SE Asia, South America, US, US Politics, USSR, Vietnam, Vietnam War, War

In Latin America, Hispanics Are Much Better off Catholic Than Converting to Evangelical Protestantism

At least Hispanic Catholics have the potential to go in a Left direction, and there is a long history in Latin America of them doing just that, especially with the explosion in the great Liberation Theology movement of the last fifty years. The Catholic Church, always a mechanism of stasis and reaction in the reaction in the region, has now also become a nearly revolutionary force since the early 1960’s. Camilo Torres is not some made-up person. He really existed.

The Sandinistas and the FMLN are both Catholics and Leftist. The ELN Colombian guerrillas were always Catholics, and their original leader was a priest with an AK-47. The Chavistas in Venezuela are Leftist and very Catholic.

Believers are now allowed to join the Cuban Communist Party, and there has been a lot of intellectual ferment in recent decades in Cuba around notions of Catholic Communism and the like. Actually there is a long tradition of Catholic Communism predating even Liberation Theology going all the way back to the 1930’s in Eastern Europe. Leftwing Catholics have been arguing that Catholics can be Communists for nearly a century.

How many Protestants do you see making arguments like that? Along with all of the idiocy and reaction of their backwards rules, at least Catholics in general seem to have a much greater tendency to go left, socialist or even Communist, and that tendency seems to be baked right into the religion. The Catholic Worker movement in the US is a good example. How many Protestant movements like the Catholic Worker movement sprung up back then? Basically zero.

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Filed under Caribbean, Catholicism, Central America, Christianity, Colombia, Cuba, Economics, Europe, Hispanics, Latin America, Left, Marxism, Nicaragua, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Religion, Revolution, Socialism, South America, Venezuela

Soft Rock from the 1960’s: Scott McKenzie “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”

God I love this song! And I still love the hippies, too. If there’s anything we need to go back to, it’s that. It’s so painful to realize that the Flower Children of the 1960’s grew up to be a generation that voted in Donald Trump.

Or did they?

You must understand. Back in those days with Revolution in the air, maybe half the young people were part of the Movement and the other half hated it with all their guts and intensity. We never hear about them. There were as many young people for the war as against it. There were as many lining up outside ROTC buildings as there were bombing them. The campuses were full of short-haired conservatives, members of Buckley’s Young Americans for Freedom. Sometimes it played out in the streets, when rightwing construction workers and even bikers assaulted hippies. It’s true. Bikers have always been conservatives and still are to this very day. I’m sure they all voted for Trump this time around.

What we saw in the 1990’s and 200’s was history replaying itself, but this time as farce. Bush and his minions – Rumsfeld, Cheney, the neoconservative Jews around Bill Kristol and his father Irving at Commentary, John Bolton, Condoleeza Rice, Colon Powell – these were the 60’s Generation too, but they were the other side of the mirror – the 60’s young conservatives who hated the Movement types as much as anyone’s parents did.

Clinton ruled for eight years, and he was the Hippie Movement Generation or the Revolutionary 1960’s in power even though he barely inhaled. One of the reasons he was so hated is because the Culture War of the 1960’s-1970’s with a generation split between Left and Right at each others’ throats trying to – sometimes successfully – kill each other, never really ended. There was no truce or even a ceasefire. Surely there was no peace deal.

And when Bush came in, he was the other side of the coin, this time the conservatives of the 1960’s – the squares as we derisively called them – had taken back over the reigns from their lifelong enemies. They did it by stealing elections, but they got in no matter what.

The 1960’s were replayed again under Barack Obama, this time even worse, with accusations of hobnobbing around with actual revolutionaries like Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn (these are still two of my heroes), former high-ranking members of the Weather Underground who lived underground for over a decade and resurfaced only to be pardoned of all charges.

Dohrn and Ayers resurfaced as Education Professors at the University of Chicago where they teach to this day. U of Chicago has a bad rap. Forget the Economics Department where the curse of neoliberalism was resurrected from the dead by Friedman and his gangsters who then went on to destroy Chile and poison the minds of generations. There’s a whole tradition of radicalism there too, especially in the social sciences and nowadays in the Education Department. Former bomb-throwing revolutionaries now tenured professors living comfortable lives in ivy-covered brick apartments? Who could have guessed?

Chicago’s a funny place. Sure you had the reactionary Tribune, but you also had Marshall Fields, a Leftist millionaire and head of a department store chain who funded huge pro-labor newspapers because they would die with ads they would never get. It’s a funny place, Left and Right all mixed in and in each other’s face, gripped at each other’s throats and choking hard, sort of like…the whole country now? N’est pas?

The reaction against the so-called Movement radicalism of Obama in power was of course the election of Trump on a fake populist platform, whose job it is apparently to roll back the entire Revolutionary Project of the 1960’s – and the New Deal of the 1930’s while they’re at it – and oh Hell, let’s go all the way back to Gilded Age of the 1890’s as Rove dreams. We’re already there anyway. What is the US from 1990-present but the Gilded Age Part 2, as if we never learned a thing the first time?

The infinite return coming back to punch us all in the face again. Cirlces aren’t all round. Some are flat in fact.

Riverrun, past Eve and Adams, from swerve of shore to bend of bay…

OK, you get it now?

 

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Filed under Conservatism, Culture, Democrats, Economics, Higher Education, History, Left, Midwest, Music, Neoconservatism, Neoliberalism, Obama, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Republicans, Revolution, Rock, US, US Politics, USA

Soft Rock from the 1960’s: The Mamas and the Papas, “California Dreamin'”

My God, what a beautiful song that was. I even loved Mama Cass. I don’t care if she was fat. And John Phillips and his lovely teenage daughter! This was actually a family and a band.

1968. It was a different time back then. I was only 11, so I missed it, but I experienced the Hippie Movement just fine in the 1970’s from 1974-on. The Hippie Movement was still going strong all through the 1970’s, believe it or not, and it was not a whole lot different from the Movement in the 1960’s. Some of my acid dealer friends used to get their LSD directly form Timothy Leary’s Brotherhood of Eternal Love in Laguna Beach. This organization was headquartered in Laguna Canyon where they had rented a number of homes. They even lookouts up in the trees! Over the years, they manufactured and sold millions of hits of LSD. They were the makers of the original Orange Sunshine LSD.

I wasn’t all for peace and love though. I was actually on the mailing list for the Weather Underground!

I even have a soft spot for the Black Liberation Army, even though they were little more than criminals turned revolutionaries.

But hey, so were the Panthers.

Don’t believe me? Read Soul on Ice, and get back to me on that.

Or look up the Jackson Brothers and Angela Davis in Wikipedia. I always thought Angela Davis smuggled that gun in to the courtroom that day. Somehow the Jacksons got a hold of firearms and opened fire in a Bay Area courtroom one day in 1970. No one ever figured out how the guns got into the courtroom, but my mother always thought that Angela Davis smuggled them in in her Afro! Davis was a radical lawyer representing George Jackson and his brother, and she was there in the courthouse circus that day. A wild shootout took place in the courtroom, the judge was shot and killed (!), and both of the Jacksons were shot dead outside the courtroom by police.

Those were the days, man!

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Filed under California, Crime, Dope, Hallucinogens, History, Intoxicants, Law enforcement, Left, LSD, Music, Regional, Revolution, Rock, US, USA, West

The Little-Known Story of Joanne Chesimard and the Black Liberation Army

The story of the Black Liberation Army, a radical armed Black revolutionary Marxist movement in the 1960’s-1970’s,  is little known. Although at first they were little more than thugs turned revolutionaries, they carried out some spectacular actions and seemed to always be one step ahead of the cops. You know that’s got to count for something. I believe in giving respect where it is deserved.

I always had a soft spot for the Black Liberation Army.

One of the leaders of the BLA was Joanne Chesimard, aka Assatu Shakur is fairly well known because of lying propaganda that she shot and killed a cop and subsequently is near the top of the US Most Wanted List. The truth is she is 100% innocent of that charge. She is probably guilty of some other things and she is certainly guilty of a spectactual prison break, but she is innocent of shooting that cop.

In fact, she was shot and badly wounded in the incident where the police officer was killed. She and four other BLA members were pulled over by the police in New Jersey and a wild shootout ensued. I believe the police officer was killed with his own gun. The man who killed the cop was also shot dead. Joanne was badly wounded, but she never fired a weapon during the whole shootout. In fact, I believe she was not even armed. Nevertheless, she has been charged with the officer’s murder though she had nothing to do with it. She was given political asylum by revolutionary Cuba. One of the US’ stupid and arrogant demands of the Cubans is that they give up Assata. Raul Castro said they never will. They should not. She’s innocent anyway.

Chesimard and other BLA members were very good, always escaping from close calls with the cops and even escaping from police custody a few times. Chesimard and some others escaped from a federal prison in Florida in 1979 disguised as laundry workers. Fellow BLA members disguised as laundry workers and drove a laundry truck in and broke the BLA out of a maximum security prison! There was a vast manhunt on for Chesimard all over the US, but she could never be found. There were a lot of people hiding her and they were very good at it. Suddenly, three years later, she popped up in Cuba and said she had been given asylum. No one knew how she got there, and no one has ever figured out where she was for three years.

This is one reason I can never get into any serious anti-Black racism. John Brown is one of my ultimate heroes! I don’t care how many people he killed. So what! A revolution is not a picnic! I liked the Black Panthers a lot too, and I still like them to this very day. I rather like the idea of armed Black revolutionaries running around waging a revolutionary war against the system. Good for them! And the Black Panthers’ armed self-defense was also a good thing. I loved Huey Newton and love Elaine Brown. I even have a soft spot for Stokely Carmichael and even Eldridge Cleaver. How can I be an anti-Black racist? What crap!

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Filed under Blacks, Caribbean, Corrections, Crime, Cuba, Florida, History, Latin America, Law enforcement, Left, Marxism, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, Revolution, South, US, USA

Alt Left Criticism: “Lindsay Has Moved Far to the Left”

In a radio interview on Robert Stark’s show with Rabbit, Pilleater and Ryan England, England remarked in a baffled tone that I had seemed to have moved far to the Left. This wasn’t really a true statement, as there really wasn’t anywhere to the Left remaining for me to move to. I would have fallen off the cliff if I did. I have always been Hard Left. I am a former member of the Communist Party USA. I used to contribute to the Weapons Funds of Latin American armed revolutionary movements like the FMLN in El Salvador. At one point, I was talking to a representative of the ELN armed group in Colombia, and I was thinking about translating some of their articles for them. I chickened when I worried that I could maybe get 10 years in prison for such harmless activity.

From 1988-1990, I was even on the mailing list for the Weather Underground! I received regular mailings from them.

That was the Weathermen, an underground guerrilla movement that took up arms in the 1960’s to fight the US government. They set off many bombs all over that country. During the period of radical activism from the 1960’s to the 1970’s, a total of 50,000 bombs were set off! I believe in 1970 alone, there were 3,000 bombs set off all around the country. And very few people were hurt or even killed, as they often set them off in the middle of the night and often telephoned in warning calls first so the area could be evacuated.

There was a very large community helping those people – I would estimate 200,000 people at the very low end. The FBI had a very hard time infiltrating the Weathermen because the community was so dedicated to them. People hid them, supported them, moved them around, gave them tips, and funded them with lots of money. A lot of rich people supported them too, especially at the universities and in the legal community. There was a whole group of lawyers who were more or less actively helping them. That was one of the reasons it was so hard to break the movement – you would have had to arrest tens or hundreds of thousands of people.

I used to subscribe to their above-ground publication called Breakthrough. It was put out by something called the John Brown Book Club, headquartered in either Berkeley or San Francisco as of ~1990. The above ground component was legal, and the underground component was illegal.

The Weathermen only killed one person accidentally in their many years of armed action. That was a chemistry student who was up all night working on something in the lab when they bombed at ROTC Headquarters at the University of Wisconsin. Some cops were killed in a bomb attack in Berkeley at Police Headquarters, but I do not think the Weathermen did that. The Weathermen were not the only maniacs running around setting off bombs back then. There were all sorts of groups doing that.

Unfortunately the Weathermen got in with the radical Blacks of the Black Liberation Army and some others and in 1980, they held up an armed car and killed one of the drivers. They got a lot of money, but I did not approve of that action. A couple of them were caught. Afterwards there were raids on Weathermen hideouts all over the US. The FBI mostly found nothing. I remember in one raid in New York City, the Weathermen had left so quickly that burners were left on on the stove. Obviously they had sympathizers inside the government and even law enforcement who were tipping them off to the raids. They why they usually were already gone before they got raided.

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Filed under California, Central America, Colombia, El Salvador, Government, History, Homegrown Terrorism, Latin America, Law enforcement, Left, Maoism, Marxism, Regional, Revolution, South America, US, USA, West

One Man Businesses Are Inherently Noncapitalist

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

First of all, I live in a capitalist country. You have to do what you have to do survive in whatever country you live in. If you want to survive in a capitalist country, you have to play by the rules of capitalism. And it’s not anti-socialist to be rich or to invest in or own businesses. For instance, the FMLN revolutionaries owned and invested in businesses, farms and ranches all over Latin America. All of the money went for revolution – guns, bombs, uniforms, supplies, wages for soldiers, etc. The father of the famous terrorist Carlos was a Venezuelan millionaire and Communist. That’s not a contradiction, and he doesn’t have to give all his money away. A Communist can be rich in a capitalist country. I would like to think he would do good things with his money though and not use it to rip off the people or exploit workers. Engels was a rich businessman.

I am not a capitalist. No exploitation, no capitalism. I am simply a worker selling his labor on the open market. All one man businesses are noncapitalist. It’s just one guy selling his labor on the market mostly to other workers. It’s workers paying other workers for some service. Also I am not marking anything up, although the profit motive and marking up products as a middleman is not necessarily capitalist and is completely compatible with socialism. I also feel that small businesses are an important part of a socialist country.

Anyway, I’m not really a Communist. I am just a socialist, and I am OK with social democracy where you have private businesses and even corporations and where up to 93% of the economy is private owned, as in Sweden for instance.

Democratic socialism allows a lot of capitalism in it. It just modified it and regulates it, and that is the socialist part as capitalists accept no limits whatsoever on their profits. Any state that limits the profits of Capital is automatically acting in a socialist manner. All regulation of business is inherently socialist. It has to be. Capitalists do not accept the state regulating their businesses to limit their profits in any way, shape or form. That’s their nature.

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Filed under Capitalism, Economics, Government, Latin America, Left, Maoism, Marxism, Regional, Revolution, Socialism, South America, Venezuela

Fabricio Orjeda, Presente!

In support of one of my newest heroes, Fabricio Orjeda, leader of the FALN of Venezuela from 1962-1966. I also like this group, which I just learned about. They hardly killed a soul. Kidnapped a few people for ransom, including a US military colonel! Cool! That’s some real style. I like that! Back in those days, a lot of these groups kidnapped people and even robbed banks to get money for revolution. There were a number of groups in El Salvador in the 1970’s that did this quite a bit.

Hey come on. A revolution needs money. Get real. How you going to have a revolution without money?

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

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

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Filed under Amerindians, Black-White (Mulattos), Blacks, Capitalism, Economics, Latin America, Left, Marxism, Mestizos, Mixed Race, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, Revolution, Socialism, South America, Venezuela, White Nationalism, White Racism, Whites, Zambos

The “Iranian Expansionism” Lie: How the US and UK Have Joined the Gulf Arab War against the Shia: The Cases of Iraq and Yemen

Iraq

Iraq is the latest flash point. This is not a case of Iranian expansionism either. Saddam somewhat repressed the Shia, although millions of Shia were Baath Party members, and most of the army were Shia.

When the US military rolled through the Shia cities of the South during the Gulf War, they expected a warm welcome. It was the other way around. A convoy would be driving down a street in Nasariyah with nary a problem in sight. They got halfway down the street when the whole street opened up on them with automatic weapons and RPG’s. Most of them were hiding on rooftops. These were Shia Baath Party people, Shia Iraqi military veterans and also a lot of Shia who were simply Iraqi nationalists who would rather live with Saddam than be conquered by foreign invaders.

Of course, our criminal, Nazi-like war of aggression against the Iraqi people resulted in the overthrow of Sunni rule. With democracy, obviously a Shia government was elected, as 60% of the population is Iraq is Shia. The US and Israel are now screaming that Iraq is a case of Iranian expansionism. The Hell it is. It’s a case of democracy! The Shia are the majority, so democratic elections of course elected a Shia government. Democracy in action. I guess the US and Israel are opposed to democracy now?

Of course the new Shia government has friendly ties with Iran. The Shia Alawi government of Syria also has close ties with Iran. The Shia Hezbollah in Lebanon has close ties with Iran. None of this is “Iranian expansionism” or “Iran conquering the Arab world.” Instead these are Shia populations in the Arab World who have formed a natural and normal confessional alliance with Shia Iran. Shia are going to ally with Shia. What do you expect them to do?

Yemen

In Yemen, the Shia are 45% of the country. This group is called Zaidis, and they are barely even Shia. They only differ from Yemeni Sunnism on one or two things. While most Zaidis call themselves Shia, some call themselves Sunnis, and others say that they are both Sunni and Shia. So the sect isn’t even pure Shia according to their own members.

A tribal group in the north called Houthis who are mostly Zaidi launched a very popular civil war from the north all the way to the south of the country, eventually overthrowing the government. The US- and Saudi-installed president, a man named Hadi, was airlifted out to Saudi Arabia where he continued to insist that he ran the country. Hadi was very unpopular, and frankly most Yemenis hated him.

The Houthi revolt had the support of the majority of Yemenis. The Yemeni Army was loyal to a former president named Saleh, who was also a Houthi Shia. Most of the Yemeni Army, 70-80%, went over to the side of the Houthis. So the vast majority of the army goes over the side of the armed revolution that overthrows the state, and the revolution is still not legitimate? Well, when is a revolution legitimate then?

The US went along with this folly and insisted that Hadi was still the real president of the country. Well, no he wasn’t. Ever heard of a revolution? When an armed revolution happens and overthrows the government, the new armed group is the new government. I would say they are even under international law. Revolutions have been a legitimate way to overthrow states forever now. Or do we now say that all revolutions are illegitimate? Would that apply to our own revolution then? That would have to be illegitimate too, right, because the US says that armed revolutions cannot install legitimate governments?

The remaining 25% of the Yemeni Army started fighting the Houthis, but they were close to defeat. Suddenly, the Saudis, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, and Sudan all jumped into the war and attacked Yemen. They invaded Yemen, a sovereign country. That’s a Nazi like war of aggression, illegal under international law. Yet the US and UK gave full support to this invasion.

Since that time, the Saudis have been bombing all over the country. The Saudi and UAE militaries also invaded, but they did not get far. They set up a few garrisons, but they came under constant attack and suffered heavy casualties. The Saudi military is terrible and is not capable of fighting any war. The UAE military is about as bad. The US has been supplying intelligence and command and control facilities to the invaders from the beginning. At least 10,000 Yemenis are dead at the hands of the US and the UK in this sickening war. Whenever the Saudis start running low on bombs, we rush-deliver more bombs to them.

Al Qaeda has a large presence in Yemen, and they quickly waged war against the Houthis and Saleh’s army. The Gulf states have been funneling supplies to Yemeni Al Qaeda ever since the invasion, using them to help overthrow the Shia Houthis. When the war started, Saudi Arabia and the UAE flew 300-400 ISIS and Al Qaeda jihadis from Syria down to Yemen to fight against the Houthi. The UAE and the Saudis continue to run jihadis into Yemen, typically by ship. The Saudis have never launched one attack against the Al Qaeda and ISIS in Yemen, and the US has had a quite but not completely hands-off policy too, as the US and UK are using ISIS and Al Qaeda in Yemen to overthrow the Houthi.

The Houthi takeover had nothing to do with “Iranian expansionism.” That’s a paranoid lie of a fever dream. The Shia are 45% of Yemen. The Houthis have always been very popular in Yemen. In fact, the Shia Houthis ruled Yemen for centuries with no problems whatsoever. Even many Sunni Yemenis say they support the Houthi because they say that the Houthis know how to run the country. The Houthis have some friendly relations with Iran, but it boils down to little more than moral support. US and Israeli charges of the Iranians running weapons to the Houthis appear to be complete lies.

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Filed under Africa, Alawi, Asia, Egypt, Geopolitics, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Jordan, Law, Lebanon, Middle East, North Africa, Politics, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Revolution, Saudi Arabia, Shiism, Sudan, Sunnism, Syria, USA, War, Yemen

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

Iran: Socialism’s Ignored Success Story

May 23, 2017

by Ramin Mazaheri

Iran just completed their presidential election, but this article will not discuss the candidates, the result or the political consequences.

I work for Iran’s Press TV, which essentially makes me a civil servant, and I think it is correct for me to not reveal who I voted for in order to preserve my independence within the government. I’m quite happy to work for “the people” instead of “a person” – as in private media – and I will support which ever candidate the people choose.

Why will I support Iran’s government, whoever is in charge? Truly, it is not for my paycheck.

I support Iran because I support socialism where ever I can find it, and Iran has socialism in abundance.

Iranian Socialism has been so successful at redistributing wealth to the average person; has safeguarded the nation’s security despite being ringed by US military bases and repeated threats; has grown the economy despite an international blockade; has produced a foreign policy motivated on political principles; and has fought against the divisive identity politics which undermine human solidarity.

I have actually seen Iran over the decades, unlike 99% of the journalists who claim to understand Iran, so you can’t dissuade me.

And I’m not even going to try to persuade you. This is not that article, either.

This article is to lay out for left-wing readers and supporters of socialism what should be crystal clear: Iran is a socialist nation. Even more than that: Iran is a socialist success story.

Iran, like all nations, has had its unique developmental history; of course we have been reading Marx just as long as anyone else, as well.

But the most convincing and simplest way I can put it to non-Iranians is this: Europe came to socialism through industrialization, theory and war, but Iran came to socialism through its religious and moral beliefs. The ends are the same, and that is all that should matter to anyone who is truly trying to promote socialism for the benefits it brings to the average person.

The Problem Is Not Us, It Is You

I repeat: The problem is not us, it is you…when it comes to looking at Iran’s contributions to socialism.

I believe that around 99% of Westerners have no idea at all what Iran is really like. Unfortunately, this total ignorance about Iran and the Muslim world is the historical norm in the West.

The greatest contribution of Middle East scholar Edward Said was that his book, “Orientalism”, definitively proved through historical scholarship that the West has never, ever, ever been favorable towards the Muslim world.

Not in the 8th century, when Muslims were occupiers of the Iberian Peninsula, not in the following centuries when Islam was an ideological competitor to Christianity; not in the 15th century, when the Ottoman Empire occupied the Balkans; not in the 19th century, when the Europeans occupied the Middle East & North Africa; not in 1916, when they redrew the borders for the West’s benefit; not in 1945, when they bombed countries like Syria which had fought on their side against the Germans and the Italians; not in the 1960’s, when their reaction to independence was neocolonialism; not in 1979, when they created the forerunner of the Taliban; not during 2 wars in Iraq, a war in Syria today, etc.

Said’s point was: Never has the West viewed or treated the Muslim world as equals, much less intellectual equals.

Given this history, why should us Iranians expect the reality of our high-achieving modernity to be accepted and admired?

LOL, believe me, I am over it! I write this to enlighten you, not me! I humbly hope that it works.

I will address the elephant in the room, and quickly: Yes, I assume that a large part of this prejudice is religious. Some Christians cannot accept that Islam promotes the most recent prophet of the monotheism which they both share.

Such religious prejudices are not my problem, and they do not blind my analysis of 2017 Iran.

No socialist believes in a “clash of civilizations” or “religious war”, anyway.

My point is not to criticize Europe for a lack of brotherhood with their fellow Abrahamic religion: My point is to criticize them in 2017 because most Westerners believe that that even the most leftist Iranian cannot even qualify as merely a “conservative social democrat”!

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

The proof of this bias is the decades of Western support for the oppression of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Iranian Revolution and any Muslim attempt to allow their religion into their politics. This is even though Christian Democratic parties governed Europe for decades after WWII, and it is absurd to think that the Christian dogma is not upheld and promoted in European politics today.

So, if Iranians cannot even be allowed to fulfill 19th century notions, why would the West accept that 2017 Iran can be even more truly leftist than the merely centrist ideology of European social democracy?

Of course, the average European cannot accept this, and this is why Western Socialists are aghast at my idea that Iran is an “ignored Socialist success story”.

The radical left of European Socialism, which seeks to destroy organized religion, is especially aghast, but they are a tiny minority and on the way out, thankfully. They do not realize that they have already been drastically tempered, if not ousted, in the still-Socialist countries they purportedly admire: Cuba is full of Santeria and Pope pictures, yin-yangy Confucianism is being promoted in China, etc.

But these Western radicals are a minority who simply cannot accept that spirituality cannot be rubbed out, largely because they see it as a choice or a social conditioning instead of a part of many people’s intrinsic nature (if not theirs). A modern Socialist must accept that this fight has already been fought and decided. The capitalists certainly advance as we chase our tails….

Even if leftist detractors can get past religion, they immediately will talk about Iran’s human rights faults.

I respond: Yawn yawn yawn African-Americans fill US jails; Muslims fill France’s jails; this is the centenary of the British-orchestrated Persian Famine, which killed 8-10 million people and actually made Iran the biggest victim of WWI, that is just one Western/capitalist inspired famine/death/human rights violation yawn yawn yawn.

I am not here to say Iran is perfect – only God can be – I am saying that Iran is absolutely no worse than the West. It is an undeniable fact that the current Islamic Republic of Iran has far less blood on its hands than most – and Iran has not invaded a country in 300 years!

Religion, human rights – these are all classic diversions from the facts presented against socialist societies, and Iran certainly is one.

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

What are the key components of socialism? Let’s clarify our terms.

The first is leadership by an avant-garde party committed to defending the revolution: Iran certainly has this, and it crosses over Principlist/Reformist party lines.

The second is central planning of the economy: Whoever had won, they would be largely implementing the 6th Five-year plan (2016-2021). And there is also the “Resistance Economy” approach promoted by many, which is certainly anti-globalization.

The third is control over the media: This is mixed – I would say Iran does not really have this in the traditionally Socialist sense. Cuba has no private media, for example, while Iran has dozens of private newspapers and innumerable TV satellites. But Iran does have limitations, so let’s check this box.

The fourth is support for foreign liberation movements: When the history of Palestinian liberation is finally written, just as a now-free South Africa thanks Cuba for sending troops to Angola, will not Palestinians do the same for Iran’s decades of support? The same with Lebanon and now Syria, correct?

The fifth is democratically devolving as much democracy as possible in order to empower the average person: There is no doubt that Iran is the most vibrant democracy in the Middle East, and by a huge margin. The difference between Iran’s social-democratic procedures and guarantees in 2017 when compared with 1978 is obviously laughable. I write this from Paris, a nation in an 18-month state of emergency with no end in sight….

If your country has these five crucial components: Congratulations! You are in a socialist country!

A little bit more on each for the naysayers….

An Avant-Garde Party

Iran is a one-party system – that party defends the 1979 Revolution. China is a one-party system – promoting Chinese communism. Many would say that the US is a one-party system – promoting imperialist capitalism.

The difference between Iran & China and the US is that in the former their one-party systems are formalized, explicit and well-known; in the US it is informal, but just as strong, and maybe even stronger.

I don’t think this needs much further explanation but, for example, you cannot propose to end the Iranian Revolution and run for office. In France a presidential candidate in their recent election (Jean-Luc Melenchon) won 20% of the first-round vote by proposing to abolish France’s current 5th Republic.

Like all socialist countries, Iran is criticized for not having democracy but they do: it is simply within their own particular structure. Just as in the USSR, there was lively debate about how to advance their own system – should we following the right-wing model of socialism of Bukharin/Khrushchev or the left-wing model socialism of Lenin/Trotsky? – but there was no debate about deviating from their chosen national system, i.e. communism. When they did allow such debates under Gorbachev, Soviet Socialism was almost immediately subverted by capitalist reactionaries and consigned to oblivion.

Again, please examine the repression of communism in the US, South Korea, Greece, Italy, Chile, etc. for historical examples of capitalist “one-party systems”, which are definitely NOT avant-garde and promoting socialism….

The idea that Iran has no avant-garde party but is some sort of totalitarian structure governed by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is only expressed by those who are supremely ignorant about Iran. For the second presidential election in a row Hassan Rouhani won despite not seeming to be Khamenei’s preferred candidate, after all.

Central Planning of the Economy

I think I can illustrate Iran’s state of economic socialism with this anecdote: Back in 2013 all 8 presidential candidates were pushing for more privatization…not to promote capitalism, but because everything has already been nationalized for so long, LOL!

So Iran has already done the nationalizing, and maybe they need to do more? However, socialist countries have increasingly agreed that some revenue-producing businesses are needed to meet some of the basic needs of their people: North Korea has the Kaesong Industrial area, Cuba’s Port Mariel is giving some space to completely foreign-owned businesses, Vietnam and China have plenty of state-run capitalist enterprises, etc. The reality is that even producing things as simple as soap need some expertise, and very often only capitalist corporations can have that expertise.

That’s why the Iranian government went on a spending spree in 2016, but it was decidedly not your typical capitalism. (I do not want to appear to credit only the Rouhani administration because economic policy is produced by the entire government in 5-year development plans, as already noted.)

Iran was feted like a king in places like France and Italy because they were prepared to spend dozens of billions of euros. But what pleased me was how Iran spent: They demanded equal partnerships, joint ventures and technology transfers.

These are the ways in which foreign investment can be mutually beneficial and not exploitative – this was good for France too. I am not a dogmatic person who is absolutely against all capitalism, but I am against all exploitative capitalism.

My point is: It was a socialist spending spree, not a capitalist one. Iran did not just give money away; they did not waste money on vanity projects; this was not one billionaire dealing with another for their own benefit; they invested in Iran via long-term central planning, i.e. the socialist view of economic management.

This is not like France’s ruling “Socialist Party” recently selling off national industrial jewel Alstom to the United States’ General Electric: The French people got nothing for that. That was capitalism; that was globalization

Iran is not in favor of globalization – they are not even a member of the World Trade Organization, unlike 164 other countries. Some will say this is solely due to the opposition of the United States, but it is not: As many in Iran said during the election: membership in the WTO is against Iran’s principles…and these are socialist principles regarding the economy – there is nothing about the WTO in the Koran.

Control over the Media

It’s true you can’t have Charlie Hebdo in Iran – hardly a major loss –but Iran is certainly no Cuba.

Iran’s refusal to crack down on TV satellites which permit reactionary, anti-revolutionary channels like BBC Persian and VOA Persian (UK and US government-funded respectively) appears to be a dangerous fire which Havana will not tolerate. This tolerance does give Iran “human rights” credibility with the West – well it doesn’t, but it should!

I would suggest that Iran is simply confident that foreign propaganda cannot overwhelm the obvious successes of the 1979 Revolution. I imagine that Cuba feels that they cannot take chances, being just 100 kilometers from the USA.

Of course, Cubans simply laugh at Western propaganda channels like the US government’s pathetic Radio Marti. Cubans are supremely intelligent politically and, after all, their education programs are decades older than Iran’s.

Iran, like Cuba and China, bans pornography. I note that such respect for sexuality and for women is a very basic tenet of Socialism. If your utopia includes unfettered access to porn I suggest that you are a libertarian, and not a socialist.

I remind again that the media glasnost implemented by Gorbachev was a major driver in the catastrophic implosion of the Russian Revolution. To privatize media means, necessarily, that you are giving those few people rich enough to actually start newspapers the chance to promote their obviously capitalist worldviews.

I, for one, am not about to cry over the lack of published capitalist, imperialist, sexist, racist, regressive anti-revolutionary nonsense, and neither are most Iranians. As sad as the Dutch may be about it – Iran is not Amsterdam!

Support of Foreign Liberation Movements

Some will say that Palestine is just a “distraction” from Iran’s own problems. Nonsense – this is a point of pride to all Iranians. This is a point of admiration for Iran from the entire Muslim world, just as it is a negative point for much of the Western world.

This is another way Iran is revolutionary Socialist country: they support oppressed countries on the basis of ideology. Perhaps Iran is not the “Mecca of Revolutionaries” which Algeria was in the 1960’s, but let’s agree that the rate and scope of revolutionary movements worldwide are at a much lower level today, sadly.

Russia may support Syria, for example, but it appears more for Moscow’s self-interest and the idea of national sovereignty – which is the idea of national self-interest – rather than a moral-based ideology.

Call Iran the same as Russia – no insult there – but you cannot deny that Iran supports Palestine for reasons which are clearly to the detriment of their own success, i.e., they do it out of solidarity and morality. Were Iran to recognize Israel they would surely have the international dogs called off them…but Iran is a revolutionary Socialist society, as you are hopefully agreeing with by now.

Iran is also an anti-racist society, like all modern socialist societies.

They constitutionally protect minorities, with parliamentary seats for Armenians, Assyrians, Christians and Jews, despite their small numbers. Iran may not promote them, but their tolerance of local languages like Azeri and Kurdish far exceeds that of many minorities in Western Europe. Iran accommodates the 5th-largest number of refugees in the world, while French authorities put up gates and even ‘’anti-migrant boulders’’ to deny refugees even the barest shelter.

When it comes to religion they are extremely tolerant of ancient Iranian Zoroastrianism and all of the pre-Prophet Muhammad Abrahamic religions. Any religion after Prophet Muhammad? Well…it is an “Islamic” Revolution, after all.

This is perhaps a pedantic point but an important one on a verbal, Foucauldian level: Has there been any “revolution” in the world since WWI which was not “socialist”? I can’t think of any, because without a socialism component it cannot be a revolution – it can only be a continuation of the capitalist/feudalist/bourgeois status quo, or a military coup.

Empowering People

The two fundamental tenets of socialism are redistribution of wealth and empowering the average person so that they can reach their full potential. Dismantling the social roadblocks thrown up by capitalism against the non-wealthy has clearly been a major goal of the Islamic Revolution, and I can quite easily prove it has been achieved with a tremendous amount of real-world success.

Since 1990 – when the West’s attack dog of Iraq was beaten off – no country’s Human Development Index has improved more than Iran’s, with the lone exception of South Korea.

Everyone should take notice, especially Socialists, as it is we anti-capitalists who prize human development – not economic development – above all.

That’s why I’m going to leave the Human Development Index as the only proof of success. For me, I have so many other econometrics, anecdotes and personal reflections to prove that Iran has succeeded in creating a new, better, modern society that to do so is quite boring.

Bottom line: It is obvious that I do not have to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Despite the tremendous amount of opposition, violence and propaganda, Iran has advanced the most in the past 3+ decades.

I say “the most” because, unlike South Korea, Iran has done this without 30,000 US troops currently on its soil; it was not preceded by decades of brutal dictatorship which slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people (mainly leftists); and they did not collaborate with the Americans in the division of their nation which currently causes the greatest possibility of thermonuclear war.

Iran didn’t get to #1 as many others did: by capitalism and imperialism.

Iran’s recent election had a 73% voter turnout rate, ranking it #12 in the world. Unlike many of these other 11 countries, Iran does not compel citizens to vote. There is obviously tremendous support for the Iranian system from the Iranian people because…they are not blind to success, I would say!

The hardest thing to get people to do when it comes to socialism (or Iran) is to think realistically: Nobody can achieve “perfect” socialism. No country has 100% voter turnout. No country has zero human rights violations.

But for Iran you have add on another layer of misconception: Many of the “restrictions” in Iranian society predate 1979 by centuries: women were largely wearing the hejab before then; unmarried people, especially young women, also lived at home before 1979; alcohol could send you to prison then and now.

My point is: Iran is a culturally conservative nation, and it was like that long, long before 1979. You will have to simply trust me that Iranians don’t need a government to make them want to live in a society which appears conservative to modern Western standards.

Again, Iran is not Amsterdam, LOL! Maybe you can talk about the royal court in Shiraz in the 14th century as being a hotbed of drunken poetic reveling, but this is does not reflect the reality of life for the average person.

Only an Iranian will agree quickly with this statement and move on: Take away the 1979 Revolution and you would still have many of the same rules in place – they would just be enforced informally.

I will, lastly, put it this way: Take away the mullahs, and you still have to deal with my grandmother!!!!!

But to believe that the government has not empowered people since 1979…well, back then the average woman had 7 children, was illiterate 70% of the time, and the UN was not calling its health care system “excellent”.

Today, the birthrate is 1.7 children per woman, the overall literacy rate is 93% and the right-wing Washington DC-based think-tank the Brookings Institution runs dumbfounded articles with headlines like “Are Iranian Women Overeducated?”.

All in 30+ years…and have you thought it was capitalism that did it?!

Socialists Who Ignore Iran Are Not Really Socialists At All

Do you still want to think that Iran is a country solely motivated by religious radicalism and not the ideals of socialism? Well, then I place you on the right and the left, and that is the point of this article.

It is bad enough that the right (capitalists, imperialists) not only co-opt Socialist ideas as their own (social security, Medicare, Medicaid, affirmative action programs, welfare, free schooling, free nurseries, etc.), but it is laughable when the left refuses to see the leftism in Iran because it does not fit with their preconceived, totally inflexible notions.

Any true Socialist/Communist should realize that attacking Iran is doing a capitalist’s job for them.

And how can someone who proclaims to be a “leftist” have the exact same interpretation of Iran as a right-wing capitalist does?

Again, it is simply laughable that Iran is “not” what it really is.

But this is what always happens: Chinese communism “is not really communism”…despite having 1-party rule, a state-run economy, control over the media, support for Vietnam and North Korea, and the 2nd highest HDI improvement from 1970-2010.

North Korean communism is just a “cult of personality”…despite expelling the Japanese, resisting the Americans, maintaining their independence, security and high-level of education. Cuba is just the Castro dictatorship and, again, not communism.

This is all anti-socialist propaganda – for capitalism there can never be ANY “Socialist success story”.

You remain adamant that you do not want to implement all the principles of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in your country?

Fine, it is your country to decide for as you like. Like I wrote, no worries – Iran hasn’t invaded in 300 years and it sure seems like our military is necessarily focused on defense.

But just because you disagree with some aspects of the 1979 Revolution I encourage you not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I remind you that I needed only one fact to prove that Iran has been improving at a rate which is essentially the best in the world over the last 3 decades – how far below Iran does your country rank, hmm?

I write this article because practically no media in the English language will ever pursue the links between Iran and socialism. We leftists know this not just anti-Iran bias, but a much larger anti-Socialist bias.

However, it is truly suicidal to ignore the left-wing successes in Iran because, even if you reject some of them, Iran has clearly found MANY modern solutions to our MANY modern problems: surely some of them can be of use to you, right? Is Iran ALL wrong?

Of course not – only Satan can be all wrong.

Therefore, I advise those fighting against capitalism and imperialism: Please afford Iran a bit more respect and interest than you would afford Satan!

And Now I Take Our Victory lap

I can only laugh at those who say Iran’s revolution has failed!

“Oh really? Who was the puppet that was installed? Who was the king that was restored? What is the name of the popular democratic revolution which replaced the peoples’ one of 1979, because I have not heard of it and I still see many familiar faces from 1979?”

The revolution has succeeded, and I am not sorry to say so.

Not that I care about your opinion – this is for YOUR own benefit: YOU will not win socialism, anti-capitalism or anti-imperialism in your country if you cannot learn from the successes of others.

But sadly, your inability to recognize socialism in Iran imperils all of us, because the people worldwide cannot win in the long term if even like-minded leftists cannot stick together to work against fascism, capitalism and racism.

But Iran, Cuba, China, etc. – we can win enough of these things for ourselves, at least.

We are doing just fine – steady as she goes, eh? All thanks to central planning, as the capitalists veer from crisis to crisis, with the 1% sucking up a greater percentage every time. Our election had huge participation rates, as usual, dwarfing the European cultures who probably want to claim they invented voting, along with everything else. Asia has heard it all before….

For the non-Western readers: I know that the vast majority of you already support Iran. I have talked with too many of you over my life – I know better. I also know that for us “field slaves” we have to give that impression in order to survive, sometimes, or at least to avoid annoyances.

Anyway, many Westerners appear to misunderstand Socialism completely: they don’t realize it is intrinsically a global idea; they think the Franco-German-Russian (European) variety is the only one. More Eurocentrism blinding them to reality, and necessarily limiting them….

But I look across the West and I see nothing but leftist failure after leftist failure: The fall of communism in Russia, the breakup of Yugoslavia, the obvious absorption of “left” parties into the dominant right-wing parties, the rise of austerity, the advance of globalization at the expense of national interests….

So the next time you look at Iran, you should applaud it as a rare socialist success. Iranians will certainly keep living their path of creating modern socialism, Inshallah.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

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