Category Archives: Revolution

Regime Change Fails: Is a Military Coup or Invasion of Venezuela Next?

Great article from Global Research on US machinations against Venezuela. I am not sure if the US would invade Venezuela, but under Trump, all bets are off. The man is a lunatic and so is his insane political party and he and they are capable of anything. However, if we invaded Venezuela, it would set off a big war because a lot of Venezuelans would fight back.

Chavez has distributed guns and all sorts of arms to his supporters in the barrios and rural areas. These Chavista militias train all the time.

The Venezuelan Military would not surrender. Chavez purged the ranks of all of the rightwingers and he stacked the officer corps with his supporters. This was after the first coup when the officer corps supported the coup but the rank and file soldiers did not. That and countless armed masses marching on government buildings reversed the coup quite quickly.

Speaking at his alma mater, the University of Texas, on February 1, Secretary of State Tillerson suggested a potential military coup in VenezuelaTillerson then visited allied Latin American countries urging regime change and more economic sanctions on Venezuela. Tillerson is considering banning the processing or sale of Venezuelan oil in the United States and is discouraging other countries from buying Venezuelan oil. Further, the US is laying the groundwork for war against Venezuela.

In a series of tweets, Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican from Florida, where many Venezuelan oligarchs live, called for a military coup in Venezuela.

How absurd — remove an elected president with a military coup to restore democracy? Does that pass the straight face test? This refrain of Rubio and Tillerson seems to be the nonsensical public position of US policy.

The US has been seeking regime change in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998. Trump joined Presidents Obama and Bush before him in continuing efforts to change the government and put in place a US-friendly oligarch government.

They came closest in 2002 when a military coup removed Chavez. The Commander-in-Chief of the Venezuelan military announced Chavez had resigned and Pedro Carmona, of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, became interim president. Carmona dissolved the National Assembly and Supreme Court and declared the Constitution void. The people surrounded the presidential palace and seized television stations, and Carmona resigned and fled to Colombia. Within 47 hours, civilians and the military restored Chavez to the presidency. The coup was a turning point that strengthened the Bolivarian Revolution and showed people could defeat a coup and exposed the US and oligarchs.

US Regime Change Tactics Have Failed In Venezuela

The US and oligarchs continue their efforts to reverse the Bolivarian Revolution. The US has a long history of regime change around the world and has tried all of its regime change tools in Venezuela. So far they have failed.

Economic War

Destroying the Venezuelan economy has been an ongoing campaign by the US and oligarchs. It is reminiscent of the US coup in Chile which ended the presidency of Salvador Allende. To create the environment for the Chilean coup, President Nixon ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream.”

Henry Kissinger devised the coup, noting a billion dollars of investment were at stake. He also feared the “the insidious model effect” of the example of Chile leading to other countries breaking from the United States and capitalism. Kissinger’s top deputy at the National Security Council, Viron Vaky, opposed the coup, saying,

“What we propose is patently a violation of our own principles and policy tenets .… If these principles have any meaning, we normally depart from them only to meet the gravest threat . . . our survival.”

These objections hold true regarding recent US coups, including in Venezuela and Honduras, Ukraine, and Brazil, among others. Allende died in the coup and wrote his last words to the people of Chile, especially the workers, “Long live the people! Long live the workers!” He was replaced by Augusto Pinocheta brutal and violent dictator.

For decades the US has been fighting an economic war, “making the economy scream,” in Venezuela. Wealthy Venezuelans have been conducting economic sabotage aided by the US with sanctions and other tactics. This includes hoarding food, supplies and other necessities in warehouses or in Colombia, while Venezuelan markets are bare. The scarcity is used to fuel protests, e.g. “The March of the Empty Pots,” a carbon copy of marches in Chile before the September 11, 1973 coup. Economic warfare has escalated through Obama and under Trump, with Tillerson now urging economic sanctions on oil.

President Maduro recognized the economic hardship but also said sanctions open up the opportunity for a new era of independence and “begin the stage of post-domination by the United States, with Venezuela again at the center of this struggle for dignity and liberation.” The second-in-command of the Socialist Party, Diosdado Cabello, said,

 “[if they] apply sanctions, we will apply elections.”

Opposition Protests

Another common US regime change tool is supporting opposition protests. The Trump administration renewed regime change operations in Venezuela, and the anti-Maduro protests which began under Obama grew more violent. The opposition protests included barricades, snipers, and murders, as well as widespread injuries. When police arrested those using violence, the US claimed Venezuela opposed free speech and protests.

The opposition tried to use the crackdown against violence to achieve the US tactic of  dividing the military. The US and Western media ignored opposition violence and blamed the Venezuelan government instead. Violence became so extreme it looked like the opposition was pushing Venezuela into a Syrian-type civil war. Instead, opposition violence backfired on them.

Violent protests are part of US regime change repertoire. This was demonstrated in the US coup in Ukraine, where the US spent $5 billion to organize government opposition, including the US and EU funding violent protesters. This tactic was used in early US coups like the 1953 Iran coup of Prime Minister Mossadegh. The US has admitted organizing this coup that ended Iran’s brief experience with democracy. Like Venezuela, a key reason for the Iran coup was control of the nation’s oil.

Funding Opposition

There has been massive US investment in creating opposition to the Venezuelan government. Tens of millions of dollars have been openly spent through USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, and other related US regime change agencies. It is unknown how much the CIA has spent from its secret budget, but the CIA has definitely been involved in Venezuela. Current CIA director, Mike Pompeo, said he is “hopeful there can be a transition in Venezuela.”

The United States has also educated leaders of opposition movements, e.g. Leopoldo López, was educated at private schools in the US, including CIA-associated Kenyon College. He was groomed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and made repeated visits to the regime change agency, the National Republican Institute.

Elections

While the US calls Venezuela a dictatorship, it is in fact a strong democracy with an excellent voting system. Election observers monitor every election.

In 2016, the economic crisis led to the opposition winning a majority in the National Assembly. One of their first acts was to pass an amnesty law. The law described 17 years of crimes including violent felonies and terrorism committed by the opposition. It was an admission of crimes back to the 2002 coup and through 2016. The law demonstrated violent treason against Venezuela. One month later, the Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled the amnesty law was unconstitutional. US media, regime change advocates and anti-Venezuela human rights groups attacked the Supreme Court decision, showing their alliance with the admitted criminals.

Years of violent protests and regime change attempts and then admitting their crimes in an amnesty bill have caused those opposed to the Bolivarian Revolution to lose power and become unpopular.  In three recent elections Maduro’s party won regional, local and the Constituent Assembly elections.

The electoral commission announced the presidential election will be held on April 22. Maduro will run for re-election with the United Socialist Party. Opposition leaders such as Henry Ramos and Henri Falcon have expressed interest in running, but the opposition has not decided whether to participate. Henrique Capriles, who narrowly lost to Maduro in the last election, was banned from running for office because of irregularities in his campaign, including taking foreign donations. Capriles has been a leader of the violent protests. When his ban was announced he called for protests to remove Maduro from office. Also banned was Leopoldo Lopez, another leader of the violent protests who is under house arrest serving a thirteen year sentence for inciting violence.

Now the United States says it will not recognize the presidential election and urges a military coup. For two years, the opposition demanded presidential elections, but now it is unclear whether they will participate. They know they are unpopular, and Maduro is likely to be re-elected.

Is War Against Venezuela Coming?

A military coup faces challenges in Venezuela, as the people, including the military, are well educated about US imperialism. Tillerson openly urging a military coup makes it more difficult.

The government and opposition recently negotiated a peace settlement entitled “Democratic Coexistence Agreement for Venezuela.” They agreed on all of the issues including ending economic sanctions, scheduling elections, and more. They agreed on the date of the next presidential election. It was originally planned for March, but in a concession to the opposition, it was  rescheduled for the end of April. Maduro signed the agreement even though the opposition did not attend the signing ceremony. They backed out after Colombian President Santos, who was meeting with Secretary Tillerson, called and told them not to sign. Maduro will now make the agreement a public issue by allowing the people of Venezuela to sign it.

Not recognizing elections and urging a military coup are bad enough, but more disconcerting is that Admiral Kurt Tidd, head of Southcom, held a closed door meeting in Colombia after Tillerson’s visit. The topic was “regional destabilization,” and Venezuela was a focus.

A military attack on Venezuela from its Colombian and Brazilian borders is not far fetched. In January, the NY Times asked, “Should the US military invade Venezuela?” President Trump said the US is considering US military force against Venezuela. His chief of staff, John Kelly, was formerly the general in charge of Southcom. Tidd has claimed the crisis, created in large part by the economic war against Venezuela, requires military action for humanitarian reasons.

War preparations are already underway in Colombia, which plays the role of Israel for the US in Latin America. The coup government in Brazil increased its military budget 36 percent and participated in Operation: America United, the largest joint military exercise in Latin American history. It was one of four military exercises by the US with Brazil, Colombia, and Peru in Latin America in 2017. The US Congress ordered the Pentagon to develop military contingencies for Venezuela in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

While there is opposition to US military bases, James Patrick Jordan explains, on our radio show, the US has military bases in Colombia and the Caribbean and military agreements with countries in the region; and therefore, Venezuela is already surrounded.

The United States is targeting Venezuela because the Bolivarian Revolution provides an example against US imperialism. An invasion of Venezuela will become another war-quagmire that kills innocent Venezuelans, US soldiers, and others over control of oil. People in the United States who support the self-determination of countries should show solidarity with Venezuelans, expose the US agenda, and publicly denounce regime change. We need to educate people about what is really happening in Venezuela to overcome the false media coverage.

Share this article and the interview we did on Clearing The FOG about Venezuela and the US’ role in Latin America.  The fate of Venezuela is critical for millions of Latin Americans struggling under the domination of US Empire.

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are co-directors of Popular Resistance where this article was originally published.

If you enjoy the hard work that goes into this website, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site. Donations are the only thing that keep the site operating.

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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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Alt Left: 100th Anniversary of the October Revolution

Today, November 7, is the actual 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. They call it the October Revolution, but actually occurred in November because the Russians use a different calendar than we do.

I do not have a 100% negative view of the October Revolution. I think there were some good things about it. However, it was a military coup and it certainly was not democratic, but the Leninists never intended to be democrats anyway. The excesses of the Cheka, in particular the executions of 12,000 officials of the Russian Orthodox Church (12,000 priests and 500 bishops) must be condemned. Lenin started executing his political opponents pretty quickly. I don’t necessarily object to putting those folks in prison, but once in prison, they should have been afforded basic rights.

A high ranking member of the Bolsheviks, a Jewish man, was in charge of Legal Affairs. He interviewed an opposition member in prison and then went to talk to Lenin to ask what was to be done with this man. He was expecting Lenin to grant him the typical rights of the accused, but the man was shocked when Lenin was outraged at the suggestion that this man deserved any basic rights at all. To Lenin, he was a counterrevolutionary, and as such he was going to be shot. Lenin failed to understand what was so controversial about that.

I will never support the use of the Cheka, the organization of the firing squad, in killing opponents of the Revolution. Of course I will never support the Whites, but the excesses of the Cheka should not be supported by any fair-minded person.

With that said, I think the Alt Left should not see the October Revolution as 100% negative, and we should not support the Whites. And only 15% of Russians today say they are better off now than they were in the USSR. Anti-Communist propaganda in the US and the West leaves much to be desired. In particular, it is at odds with the testimonies of most people who actually lived under Communism. At the very least, most people think that they had it better under Communism than they do today based on polls taken in Eastern Europe and the former USSR. Communism wasn’t paradise, but whatever replaced it doesn’t seem to have been any better and most people think it is worse.

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Alt Left: Happy October Everyone!

This October was the 100th anniversary of one of the greatest moments of the 20th Century – the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in October, 1917. I recently rewatched the movie Reds. If you want to know what really happened at this time in Russia, you ought to watch that movie. There had been an election and the Mensheviks or Social Democrats had won. The Bolsheviks also took part, but they did not gain a majority. Despite antisemites ranting about how Jews caused Communism in Russia, in this election in 1917, 70% of Russian Jews voted for a Zionist party that was running at the time. So the vast majority of Russian Jews did not support the Bolsheviks (or even the other socialist parties for that ). So much for “Jewish Communism.”

Yes, Trotsky was a Jew, but he was a secular atheist Jew. He actually refused to identify as Jewish and said instead that his ethnicity was world proletarian. Lenin was 1/4 Jewish, but a lot of  people have a bit of Jew in them and it doesn’t make them Jewish. In Germany they have a saying, “There’s a little bit of Jew in every German.” This was actually such a problem in the Nazi era that they had to make all sorts of strict rules about who was a Jew. Nevertheless, ~150,000 half-Jews (not considered Jewish by the Nazis) not only served in the Wehrmacht but were actually members of the genocidally antisemitic SS!

There were a number of Jews heading the revolution but as you can see they did not even have the support of the majority of Russian Jews, or at least did not have that support in the earlier election. And there were as many Latvians of all people leading the revolution as Jews.

The Bolsheviks actually seized power by force. They had the help of masses of demobbed soldiers, home from the Front where they were running out of food, clothing, ammunition, everything. To say they were disenchanted would be an understatement. Rallies were being held all over Moscow and Saint Petersburg. These rallies were often joined by large numbers of industrial workers who also helped take part in the coup. So it was not a democratic takeover. It was actually a putschist regime. However,  I would say that they had huge and possibly even majority support at least when the Civil War got started. The Reds only won the Civil War because huge numbers of peasants went over to their side.

The Bolshevik Revolution was both good and bad. I agree that there were some bad things about it. I am appalled at how Lenin’s Cheka started murdering people very early on. An early Bolshevik, a Jew at that, was an attorney. After a prominent contra had been arrested, he visited the man in jail and then went to Lenin and asked what his plans were for the man.

The attorney, who worked for the Bolsheviks, thought the man would be granted the protections of the rule of law.  He was shocked when Lenin was outraged that the attorney thought that the man deserved such protections in the first place. Lenin said the man, along with all of the rest of the contras, should be executed. This was a Revolution! It was time for revolutionary justice. There was no time for the niceties of the rule of law and so forth. The attorney was stunned at Lenin’s brutality.

The Cheka executed a number of people in the early days by firing squad. Anti-Communist kooks give very high figures in the hundreds of thousands (including 50,000 Orthodox priests) but that cannot be correct. Instead a better figure may be ~4,000 executions.

While I am not happy at all with the brutal turn of the Revolution, I think there were some good things about the Russian Revolution. It definitely changed the course of history and humanity has not been the same since. It was surely one of the great events of the 20th Century.

I think most Alt Leftists, at least those on the Leftist (not the liberal) wing of the movement, would find at some positive things about the Russian Revolution. It is part of our heritage on the Left, for better or for worse.

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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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Alt Left: Homage to Catalonia

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“This level of repression in Catalonia has not been seen since the Franco dictatorship.” – American academics

The Catalan people are having a revolution.

A referendum was held in Catalan territories today to decide if Catalonia should secede from Spain. The Spanish state called out the Guardia Civil to stop the vote. Incredible footage of  police beating up and shooting rubber bullets at voters were broadcast on the Net. Even more dramatic footage emerged of Catalan firefighters battling Guardia Civil police in the streets. That footage was simply breathtaking.

One video I saw showed armed Spanish police raiding a polling station, grabbing ballot boxes, trashing them and throwing them on the floor, scattering the votes. Other police were confiscating ballot boxes full of ballots from angry voters who were engaged in a tug of war with police, trying to keep the ballots from being confiscated.

I saw that and thought, “This is what fascism looks like.”

Indeed, the Conservative Party that now rules Spain has deep roots to Francoist Fascism. The Fascists never went away after the return of democracy to Spain. Instead, there are still millions of Spaniards who support fascism. I have been to their Internet sites. Those are large sites with hundreds of people commenting on them. Most of the Fascist supporters drifted back into politics and although the Conservative Party has no official fascist links, nevertheless the remaining fascists are still associated with that party if they are associated with any party at all. It is like the link between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda or the relationship of White Supremacists to the Republican Party.

Earlier today, the votes apparently were counted and the referendum appears to have won by a landslide vote. The President of the region of Catalonia urged the Legislature to implement the resolution voted on and to declare the independence of Catalonia from Spain. That was about eleven hours ago or around noon PST.

What do the Catalan people want? Land and Freedom, nothing less. Instead they got 1984. Shame!

From 1937 to 2017, the spirit of the Catalan people remains unbroken. The cry, “¡No pasarán!” yet rings through the streets of Barcelona, the echoes of eighty years.

What I saw in the faces of those Catalan protesters, no power can disinherit. No explosion that ever burst can shatter the crystal spirit of the Catalan people.

The voice of independence radiates across Spain and the rest of Europe, shaking the very foundations the EU.

Let the EU bureaucrats tremble at a Catalan Revolution. The Catalans have nothing to lose but their Nationalist chains. They have a Europe to win.

Nations want to be free. Let freedom ring across the lands!

 

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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