Category Archives: Central America

US Foreign Policy Has Always Been Far More Rightwing Than US Domestic Policy

Jason Y writes: Possibly the Democrats in the US need the US NAM’s for votes, but they don’t need NAM’s in other countries.

US foreign policy has always been far more reactionary than US domestic policy. This contrast is especially stark when looking at the Democratic Party.

The Cold War made this so much worse. The Republicans said any leader who liked labor unions or raised the minimum wage was a Soviet-supporting Communist who needed to be killed or removed via a coup. And many were killed and especially removed via coups.

At the same time, the Republicans spent most of the Cold War screaming at the Democrats for being Communists or at the very least Communist sympathizers or fellow travelers. The Democrats ran scared all through the Cold War, always terrified of being called “soft on Communism.” So they tried to out-Cold War the Republicans and bent to try to out-hate the USSR.

Hence, the Democrats went along with Jonathan Foster Dulles reactionary Containment Project he initiated in the late 1940’s. Foster Dulles was a very rich man who came from old East Coast money. He was also a very rightwing government official. US foreign policy followed Dulles dictum from the 1940’s on, so our foreign policy was molded on a template created by a reactionary from the ruling class.

When Reagan came in, he updated Containment with actual Rollback, and we got Contras, wars in Mozambique and Angola, etc. The Reaganites kept accusing the Democrats of being soft on Communism, and once again, the Democrats ran scared. The horrific Central American projects of the 1980’s, where the US government set up and helped run rightwing death squads that raged across the land, murdering tens of thousands of civilians, was mostly run by some of the most liberal men in Congress, especially the shameful super-liberal Alan Cranston of California and Chris Dodd, the very liberal Connecticut “Senator from Aetna.”

Keep in mind that US foreign policy was reactionary even before the Cold War.

FDR, one of our finest presidents, was a reactionary on foreign policy. He supported the murderous dictator Somoza in Nicaragua, and he made the famous comment, “Somoza may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard.”

Liberal President Woodrow Wilson was not only a reactionary and a proto-humanitarian bomber, but he was also a very racist man domestically. In modern terms, Wilson would be a flat out White Supremacist out of American Renaissance.

The liberal reformer Teddy Roosevelt continued the Monroe Doctrine that declared all of Latin America to be effectively colonies of the US. His famous statement, “Walk softly but carry a big stick,” referred to his reactionary bullying, aggression and immiseration towards our quasi-colonies in Latin America.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Americas, Central America, Cold War, Conservatism, Democrats, Fascism, Geopolitics, Government, History, Labor, Latin America, Latin American Right, Left, Liberalism, Marxism, Nicaragua, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Republicans, US Politics, USSR

How the Right Uses Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric to Further Its Reactionary Goals

I am not going to discuss here the rightwing use of anti-immigration policy as a way of politicizing racism, nor as a means of splintering the working class and getting a lot of workers to vote for the parties of the ruling class by voting for rightwing anti-immigrant politicians. Both of those are well-known goals of anti-immigrant discourse.

Not that anti-immigrant discourse is all bad. There are times when immigration is out of control and things need to be brought under order. The use of foreign workers are temporary low wage scabs to increase profits, the abuse of the refugee program, large numbers of problematic immigrants coming to a country, immigrants straining government services, illegal immigrants, environmental degradation by mass immigration, changing the nation’s ethnic and cultural character via mass immigration of foreigners, all of these things are examples of some of the negative effects that can occur via unregulated or poorly regulated immigration.

What I wish to talk about here is something different: anti-immigration rhetoric as a rightwing diversion from rightwing projects, in this case to dismantle the state.

A wildly corrupt and outrageous rightwing parliamentary coup followed by a blatantly corrupt trial of the head of the former president resulted in a hard rightwing putschist state pursuing a radical reactionary project of dismantling all of the progressive reforms of the leftwing PT government under President Lula. Since then, public institutions have been systematically defunded even when they were already underfunded to start with in part because Brazil has never once taxed the rich in its entire existence as a nation. So public services are collapsing due to defunding in the same way that public entities collapsed under rightwing Sam Brownblack in Kansas and the NHS is presently collapsing in the UK due to a death by a thousand cuts via the Tory government.

Public frustration over the collapsing state is at a high level. At the same time, many new immigrants have been coming into Brazil due to the rightwing and US-created collapse of the economy there.

You need to understand about immigration in Latin America. It does not have the racist overtones of the debate here in the US about immigration. Also the income differences between the countries of Latin America are not vast. Latin American nations consider all Latin Americans to be part of a single ethnic mixed race people sharing a single Latin American basic culture. In many countries, the immigrants speak the same language as the residents. This makes even mass immigration much more of a “meh” issue in Latin America than it is here. All Latin Americans are brothers, ethnically, culturally and often linguistically, so why not let your brothers into your house when they desire shelter from a storm?

Hence, even White Argentina has been taking in large numbers of mestizo immigrants from Peru and Bolivia lately with a promise to soon legalize them all. Even heavily White Costa Rica has taken in 1-2 million mestizos from its neighbors who are either impoverished or devastated by street crime with an apparent promise to normalize most of them. Venezuela took in many Colombians fleeing war and poverty without batting an eye, and Colombia took in many rightwing Venezuelans fleeing Chavismo. Except in Mexico, immigrants are seldom deported in Latin America. The idea is to house, integrate and even legalize them as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, the line of Venezuelan immigrants has turned into a flood in some cities.

Brazil’s rightwing gangster state has made clever use of the problems of mass Venezuelan immigration by deviously blaming the collapsed public services (devastated and defunded by rightwing evisceration) on the masses of Venezuelan immigrants! This is apparently not true at all. The immigrants are not overwhelming public services and causing them to collapse. Instead the public services are collapsing via gutting by the rightwing state.

But the government has the people whipped into a wild nativist frenzy over this. This is in spite of the fact that Brazilians and Venezuelans are probably little different ethnically – both being some mixture of Black, White, and Indian. The result has been daily attacks on Venezuelan immigrants in some cities and most recently a spate of high profile arson attacks on buildings housing Venezuelan immigrants.

This could be called attacks on immigrants as a diversion from anti-people rightwing projects. It’s a way of getting people to look the other way and scapegoat innocent people while the state is dismantled by the rich.

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Americas, Argentina, Brazil, Britain, Central America, Colombia, Conservatism, Corruption, Costa Rica, Economics, Europe, Fake Guest Workers, Government, Illegal, Immigration, Labor, Latin America, Latin American Right, Left, Legal, Mestizos, Mexico, Midwest, Mixed Race, Peru, Political Science, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, South America, US Politics, USA, Venezuela, Whites

Hillary Clinton Staged a Coup Against the President of Honduras for Raising the Minimum Wage

The President of Honduras was recently removed by a coup sponsored by “liberal Democrat” Hillary Clinton. His crime? He raised the minimum wage. After the coup, the US and the Honduran government set up death squads that rampaged through the country murdering leftwingers. They should have named these killers Hillary’s Gang because that’s what they were. The recent election in Honduras was a completely fraudulent stolen election, obvious to anyone with open eyes. Trump promptly declared it free and fair and pledged support to the new government. Meanwhile, the reincarnated rightwing death squads of Central America continue to rage across the land and the murders of leftwingers continue unabated.

You would not believe how many governments the US has staged coups because they dared to raise the minimum wage.

How many Americans know this? Name one US media outlet anywhere at any time that has reported this clear fact. There is not one. Conclusion: the US has a completely controlled media run by the corporate-wealthy-state apparatus called the Deep State, otherwise known as The Foreign Policy Establishment of the United States.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Central America, Democrats, Fascism, Geopolitics, Government, Honduras, Journalism, Labor, Latin America, Latin American Right, Left, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Republicans, US Politics

Why Would Anyone Like America?

Good question!

Answered on Quora. I got a comment on this article from a woman that I think is very interesting. First she said, when I think of America as a person, I feel very uncomfortable. And well you should! Narcissists and sociopaths make a lot of people shiver. Then she tried to answer the question of how in heck did this country end up this way. She traces Radical Individualism, the true and only religion that America has ever had, to the type of immigrants who came to our shores. She may be onto something.

If you are conservative to reactionary, it’s a great place to live, as the US is clearly one of the most rightwing places on Earth and has been for a long time. Do you believe in radical individualism or “let em die” Libertarianism. America is the home for such things. America is one of the most callous countries on Earth and its foreign policy has always been vicious and wicked. It believes that there one set of rules for it and another set for its enemies.

It commits Nazi-like wars of aggression against its enemies all the time. America is the worst bully on the planet and has been for a very long time. America has always been for the rich and the corporations and has always treated its workers, poor, low income, and minorities like complete garbage. It hasn’t even treated its middle classes very well, but it took them forever to figure it out.

The hatred of working people and unions in the US is off the charts. This one of the only countries on Earth that actually hates labor unions. America is one of the only countries on Earth that hates government. Any time the government tries to help the people, Americans react in rage and revolt. This is one of the only countries on Earth where people hate paying taxes because that means that they have to share with other Americans. Americans are the most aggressively selfish people on Earth.

This is one of the only countries on Earth that actually hates public education (because it helps the people), and it has been rolling it back and privatizing it ever since. Botswana is the only country besides the US that does not have a government health system. This is because Americans are so callous that they don’t care if other Americans get sick or die. The message is that if you are not rich, you don’t deserve healthcare and you need to die.

American foreign policy has only helped the top 20% of the people in the countries it engages. Anytime any country tries to help its workers or its ordinary people in any way, for example trying to help the 80% bottom instead of the 20% top, it gets attacked in one way or another by the US.

A prime example is the minimum wage. Many nations in Latin America have been attacked by the US for simply daring to wage the minimum wage! Aristide in Haiti raised the minimum wage and built more schools in eight years than in the previous 200. For these crimes, death squads were sent against its people, killing thousands of them, and kidnapping Aristide at gunpoint.

The President of Honduras raised the minimum wage. For this, he was ousted by a US coup, imprisoned in a foreign embassy and threatened with death, a new coup government was put in by the US, and the US set up death squads that have now murdered over 1,000 people.

Any time a country tries to do anything nationalist to keep from being a colony of the US and its allies, the US attacks it. The US wants to keep most of the Earth in bondage to the US, their resources plundered, their people immiserated, so all of the wealth in the land goes to the US. America is the new Roman Empire and most of the world is made up of our vassals.

The purpose of the US military is to threaten any nation that tries to help itself or its people with annihilation. That’s what you are signing up for when you join the military. Thing is that Americans love all of this. They cheer for it, for this is the essence of US patriotism or jingoism. Even US liberals support almost everything that I wrote above. I am always shocked when I speak to US liberal Democrats by how much they have bought into the patriotic reactionary swill.

The basis for all of this is something called radical individualism. US foreign policy is based on something called US imperialism that says that the US is dictator the world and most of the countries in it are slaves and colonies of the US. The American people love radical individualism and US imperialism. Even many liberal Democrats do. Almost all liberal Democrats support US imperialism to the hilt.

All of this is maintained by a completely controlled media controlled by very rich people and huge corporations. This media is viciously anti-people and only supports the rich and the corporations – the only two groups the US has ever represented and fought for.

We have never had a single day of democracy in this country. We started to finally head that way in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and the rich and the corporations founded think tanks and wrote many papers on how to shut down radical democracy in the US. The results of this are, among other things, mass voter disenfranchisement and Jim Crow style voting restrictions designed to keep Black people from voting.

Since 2000, the wealthy and corporate elite discovered voting machines and started stealing elections this way. They have been doing it ever since and it has only gotten worse with time. In 2000, the Supreme Court legalized an actual theft of an election. In 2016, many states went to court to stop recounts in states that were obviously stolen by Republicans with voting machines. Courts in all of these states ruled that recounting the stolen elections was illegal.

Almost every state in the US is radically gerrymandered so that democracy is shattered. For instance, a Democrat could win the popular vote and still lose 86% of the seats to Republicans. This is the case in Alabama, Wisconsin, Virginia, and many other places. The Republicans only need two more states, and then the rich and the corporations will write a constitutional convention to rewrite the constitution to take out everything democratic in it to perpetuate continuous rule by reactionary rich people and corporations. At that time, democracy will have surely died.

With the election of Donald Trump, we see an actual American fascism taking shape. Of course this fascism has always lurked in the background, and in fact I would say we have always been a fascist country or at least a radical rightwing authoritarian country in many ways. But this is the most overt fascism we have seen in the US in a very long time.
The hatred for democracy runs deep in the bones of Americans and right now, maybe 1/3 of the population is overtly fascist. I would say that America has always been a great country for rightwingers, as it has been a far rightwing country for most of its history. The jingoists, patriots, and flag wavers are almost all rightwingers and always have been. This is their paradise and it always has been.

That is why rightwingers, reactionaries, and fascists have been flooding to the US for many years now. This is considered to be the Rightwing Dreamland of the rich and corporate classes the world over. In fact, our immigration policy was deliberately set up for many years to favor rightwingers and reactionaries and to keep leftwing immigrants out. This only made the country more and more rightwing. Incredibly, the Democratic Party supported this favoring of rightwing immigrants and opposing of leftwing immigrants.

The Democratic Party and Democratic Presidents have been part of the whole process above for most our history. They just push it forward less hard and sometimes they tinker around the edges to do something for the people. We had a large populist uprising from 1910–1920 in the US and then again in the Great Depression. For the first time in its history, the US government actually worked for the people and did many things to benefit the common man instead of just taking money from the bottom 80% and giving it to the top 20% or even 1%, which has been the American Way from Day One.

I would say that if you are a conservative or even a “liberal” who thinks all of the above is the greatest thing since sliced bread, you are correct. America is your paradise. A lot of people love this conservative – reactionary or even now fascist or Libertarian land. It’s their oyster. It’s the apple of their eye. I don’t blame them for feeling that way.

But it has always puzzled me how liberal or leftwing Americans could love this wildly reactionary country. I believe they have been brainwashed by patriotism and bullied into going along with the project. I have seen many liberals and even out and out Leftists shouting jingoistic tripe, screaming that America is the best country on Earth (83% of Americans believe this silliness), and ordering anyone who disagrees to leave the country. The enforced jingoism runs deep.

But really what is there to like here for a liberal to progressive person? Honestly not even one single thing. How could the most rightwing country on Earth be some leftwing paradise? It makes no sense.

So there you have it. America is great for rightwingers. This is their ultimate dream. For liberals and especially for progressive people, it has always been a dystopian Hell, one of Dante’s nine circles.

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.


Filed under American, Caribbean, Central America, Conservatism, Culture, Democrats, Education, Fascism, Geopolitics, Government, Haiti, Health, History, Honduras, Immigration, Imperialism, Journalism, Labor, Latin America, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Military Doctrine, Modern, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Republicans, US, US Politics, USA

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!








1 Comment

Filed under Catholicism, Central America, Christianity, Colombia, Economics, El Salvador, Eurasia, Europe, Greece, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Latin America, Lebanon, Left, Literature, Marxism, Middle East, Nicaragua, Novel, Orthodox, Palestine, Politics, Regional, Religion, Revolution, Russia, Serbia, Socialism, South America, Syria, Turkey, USSR

Liberation Theology: Jesus Christ as Marxist Guerrilla in the Jungle with a Machine Gun

From the Sandinistas of Nicaragua to the URNG of Guatemala to the guerrilla column in Honduras led by the Irish Catholic priest in 1983 to Father Aristide’s Lavalas in Haiti to the ELN in Colombia to the Chavistas in Venezuela, all of these radical leftwing groups had one thing in common: they all came out of Liberation Theology, more or less a “Jesus Christ, Marxist guerrilla in the jungle with a machine gun” type of armed to the teeth Catholicism.

Liberation Theology came out a movement of Professors of Pedagogy in Brazil in 1964, especially an influential book written by a priest named Gutierrez. The argument was that teaching in Latin America was an overtly political act, and teachers should ideally by Leftist revolutionaries. Out of this flowed many documents laying out Liberation Theology or “the preferential option for the poor.” It was most powerful among lay workers, of which there are many in Latin America. In heavily Catholic areas, Catholic lay workers are nearly an army.

The French Communist Party in  France long had Catholic roots as did the PCI in Italy. Near the end of his life, Fidel Castro praised Catholicism and said he was a “cultural Catholic.” Hugo Chavez and the Chavistas were of course a ferocious part of the Catholic Left. Chavez Leftism was heavily infused with the social teachings of the Catholic Church.

Even the viciously anti-Christian Sendero Luminoso in Peru had many supporters in the Catholic Church, mostly at the lay and priest level but surprisingly all the way up to the bishop level. Sendero killed many reactionary Protestant missionaries in their war, but they left the priests alone.

The great Edith Lagos, a 19 year old year revolutionary woman who led one of the first Sendero columns, was killed in battle in 1982. Her funeral in Ayacucho at night a bit later attracted 30,000 visitors, nearly the entire population of the town. Everyone was in line for the funeral – the local police, the local government and of course the entire local  Catholic clergy. The line wormed all through the city for hours far into the night. She was treated to an actual Catholic funeral right there in the church led by the local priest. Her casket stood next to the priest as he delivered his sermon. It had a Sendero Communist flag on it.

A communist flag on a coffin in a Catholic church! The crowd then filed out through the town to the graveyard where she was buried in the middle of the night. Her tomb exists to this day, although it has been repeatedly bombed by reactionaries. Local Indians make patronages to the tomb on a regular basis, leaving flowers at it. Rumor has it that she has obtained informal sainthood and is now Saint Edith Lagos in the local Catholic Churches.

FARC called itself officially atheist, although they had the support of many priests in the countryside where the FARC held sway. Nevertheless, most FARC rank and file were Catholics.

In Paraguay, a former guerrilla was elected president. He was also a former Catholic priest.

The armed Marxist Left in Uruguay and Brazil also had deep links to the Catholic Church.

In the US, we have something called Cold War liberals. This is the pathetic Left of the United States,  people who would be rightwingers or center-right anywhere else on Earth.





Filed under Brazil, Caribbean, Catholicism, Central America, Christianity, Colombia, Conservatism, Cuba, Europe, France, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Latin America, Left, Liberalism, Marxism, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Political Science, Regional, Religion, South America, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela

The Reactionary Catholic Church Hierarchy and a Link to Secretive Syncretic Religions of the Middle East

The Catholic Church hierarchy nearly everywhere has been reactionary.  The Catholic Church had been in with the ruling classes in Europe forever. This was one of the main reasons why the Bible was never translated into the vernacular and why masses were always held in Latin. The people could neither read not speak Latin, hence there was a huge disconnect between the Church hierarchy and the people.

This is similar to many other religions, especially eclectic religions of the Middle East such as Yezidism, Alawism and Druze. In all of these religions, the secrets of the religion are usually held in secret by a priestly caste of mostly men, though the Druze actually have female priests. For a long time, the secret book of the Yezidis was thought  to not even exist except perhaps only in oral form – this is how secret it was. This ended when an actual copy fell into Western hands around 1900.

In all of these religions, the “real true” religion is in the hands of the priestly caste and they make sure not to tell any outsiders what the religion is about. Hence it has been very hard to get good data on any of these religions. The people are fed some watered down version of the religion that doesn’t mean much of anything and  if you ask the average Alwai, Druze or Yezidi what their religion is about, you will only get some diluted harmless synopsis acceptable for outside ears. Usually what the people say the religion believes and what it really believes are two different things altogether.

The Catholic Church was in with the rich and in Europe especially in the Middle Ages it was very wealthy. It was this extreme wealth that enabled the Church to build those huge architectural masterpieces we see in the form of Medieval churches across the north of Europe, especially in France and England. They sold the peasants pie in the sky when you die like religions always do. It was this anti-people, pro-rich philosophy that made Marx so hostile to religion. He was not so much against it because he was a materialist and he thought it was superstition; he was also against it because he thought it was reactionary.

The hierarchy of the Church remained reactionary all through the  20th Century. Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador and the four Catholic priests assassinated in 1989 at the start of the great guerrilla offensive (a crime that was plotted in the US ambassador’s office of the US Embassy two days before) were the exceptions to this rule. The Church hierarchy in Venezuela and Nicaragua remain rightwing and hostile to the Sandinistas and Chavistas to this very day. Same with the church hierarchy in Spain to the best of my knowledge.

1 Comment

Filed under Alawi, Catholicism, Central America, Christian, Christianity, Druze, El Salvador, Europe, History, Islam, Latin America, Latin American Right, Left, Marxism, Middle Ages, Nicaragua, Political Science, Regional, Religion, Shiism, South America, Spain, Venezuela, Yezidism

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.


Filed under Argentina, Bolivarianism, Brazil, Caribbean, Catholicism, Central America, Chile, Christianity, Colombia, Cuba, Economics, Ecuador, El Salvador, Latin America, Left, Marxism, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Regional, Religion, Revolution, Socialism, South America, Uruguay, Venezuela

Where Have All the Catholics Gone?

In recent years, the US Catholic Church is undergoing a crisis. Fully 1/3 of its members have left the Church, even with all the Hispanic immigration. For the Church, this is a looming catastrophe. This is happening at the same time as Evangelical Protestants are increasing somewhat (8% increase) and mainline Protestants are declining somewhat (4%). There has been collapse in the membership of the mainline churches and the Evangelical churches are not undergoing explosive growth. Both of these are common tropes believed by many people nowadays.

If fully 1/3 of Catholics have left the church, this begs the question of where have they gone? I thought, once a Catholic, always a Catholic and in the sense that they take a bite out of you and psychologically, you tend to remain Catholic for good and for bad is a common cliche. I believe that the Church considers lapsed Catholics to still be Catholics, but that is a formality. The Church believes lots of silly things, for instance that we are all naturally born Catholic no matter religion we grow up in. That is why conversion to Catholicism is always called “return” because you are said to be returning to the natural religion you were born into.

In the past, converting out of Catholicism was considered a grave error and even a serious sin. I believed that Catholics were still loathe to convert to Protestantism, other than in the Hispanic community, where a mass exodus of Catholics to Evangelical churches has been going on for a long time in both Hispanic communities in the US and in Latin America itself. The situation is especially grave in Central America. Countries like Honduras now are ~1/3 Evangelical. As lousy as the Catholic Church is (and it is lousy) I would much rather have those Hispanics being Catholic than converting to pie in the sky when you die we love the poor but don’t try to improve your station in life ultra-rightwing anti-Left and anti-progress Protestant Evangelicals, with its various heresies such as Christian Zionism and Wealth Doctrine and other atrocities.

But Evangelical Hispanics are stuck in the worst rut of reaction. One wonders how they c can get out.

I used to think the most Catholics were absolutely loath to convert out to Protestantism, but it’s more common than you think and the Church hardly cares anymore, as they have more pressing concerns. Let’s look at the figures:

Of the 1/3 of Catholics who have left the Church:

50% have simply gone from Catholic to ex-Catholic. They have converted to Protestantism or another religion. Apparently nowadays it is perfectly acceptable to be a former Catholic. That’s news to me.

18% have converted to Protestantism. That is not a large number, but it is not trivial either.

Of those, 12% of leaving Catholics convert to Evangelical Protestantism. I would argue that these are mostly Hispanic Catholics converting out to the exploding Evangelical churches in the Hispanic areas of the US. I’ve never met a White Catholic who converted out to Evangelicalism, but there are probably a few.

Only 6% of leaving Catholics convert to a mainline Protestant Church. That’s a small number, but it’s not trivial.

In fact, more Catholics convert to Buddhism (10%) than convert to mainline Protestant churches. That’s a pretty pathetic statement on how many Catholics leave for mainline P Protestantism.

There’s no good answer on why Catholics leave. Sure, liberals say that they leave because of reactionary Church doctrine on homosexuality, women priests marrying, priestly celibacy, birth control, and abortion. In contrast, conservatives say that Catholics are leaving because they Church has gone way too liberal, especially since Vatican II.

The truth that about equal numbers leave because the Church is too liberal as leave because it is too conservative. There’s no real trends either way. It’s all a wash.

Actually the main reason Catholics left (65%) was that they felt that the Catholic Church was no longer meeting their spiritual needs. This is a serious failure on the part of the Church. I am not sure what they can do about it, but ritual only goes so far. More New Testament Biblical homilies, especially about Jesus’ life, might be an avenue.


Filed under Buddhism, Catholicism, Central America, Christianity, Conservatism, Hispanics, Honduras, Latin America, Liberalism, Political Science, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Religion, USA

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.


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