Category Archives: Vietnam

The Rich Only Support Democracy when the Elected State Serves their Class Interests, Otherwise They Try to Overthrow It

Zamfir: Thanks Robert. I appreciate the site, and it’s nice to feel welcome.

Obviously one problem in discussing this is that terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’ or ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ have been given all kinds of different meanings. If economic conservatism is identified with free market ideology then I’m pretty ambivalent about that, at best. And if it’s identified with support for whatever this internationalist economic system is that we have now, I’m against it.

I find it very weird that people who are conservative about social and cultural issues often support “economic conservatism” of that kind. It’s so clear that these things are incompatible! Anyway I certainly have no problem with socialism per se. I would only disagree with certain versions, or cases where I believe socialism ends up being destructive of healthy families and cultures (in much the same way that capitalism can be).

As for democracy I’m not sure what I think about it. I think I’m a reactionary to the extent that I don’t believe that democracy, or any other specific system or procedure, is always good or always essential to a good society. My sense is that some democracies or kinds of democracy are fine, while others are really bad. It all depends on some many factors aside from the system or procedure itself.

I do want a society where the interests of most people, including the poor, are taken into account fairly. But I don’t see any reason why that could never happen in a non-democratic state. Or, more precisely, for anything that’s good about some democracies, I don’t see why certain non-democratic regimes couldn’t also have those good things; it would all depend on other factors such as the culture and history of the people, their typical behavior and beliefs, etc.

So I guess I’d support coups against democratic regimes in some cases–though things would have to be pretty bad–and also against non-democratic regimes in some cases. I don’t think coups are always bad. (In fact, that’s one thing that seems silly about a lot of rigid ‘conservative’ ideology–the wish to preserve order and the status quo no matter how terrible it’s become…)

You say the rich don’t support democracy. I wonder if that’s true. Maybe they don’t support the ideal of democracy, for the reasons you mentioned. But, again, bearing in mind the looseness of terminology here, they sure do seem to support systems that we normally call “democratic”. Is the US a democracy in your view?

Are England or Ireland or Canada democracies? If so, then I don’t agree that the rich never want democracy. My sense is that they long ago figured out how to manipulate these kinds of systems to get the results they want. They manage the perceptions and values of the masses so that they always end up “freely choosing” the same garbage that the elites wanted all along.

A good question is whether this is an inevitable feature of democracy. (I don’t know the answer.) It could be that in any feasible form of democracy, no matter how close it gets to the ideal, you end up with powerful interests rigging the process to maximize their own wealth and power. And I don’t like that, because I want the interests of ordinary people to be taken into account. Ironically, then, I’m skeptical about many forms of democracy because I think the masses deserve to have a say.

So I’d be against democracy in cases where ‘democratic’ systems are hijacked by elites and used against the people. That’s what’s happening in most of the western world, I’d say. Not to say I’d support a coup in this situation–and certainly not if the point of the coup was to install an even more extreme form of exploitation. But I’m not entirely sure what to say about democracy. I think the reactionary critique has merit. (But then, don’t communists also criticize democracy for roughly similar reasons?)

The Communist view is that seeking power peacefully would be a great idea except the ruling classes will never allow it to happen. They say that power never gives up without a fight, and I believe that they are correct. Nevertheless, most Communists support Venezuela, Nicaragua and only leftwing democratic countries. But the Communists would say, “Look what happens why you try to take power peacefully. You get Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, and even Argentina.”

The ruling class will just overthrow the democratic Left state any way they can, always using anti-democratic means to do so. That’s why Lenin called people who supported the peaceful road to socialism “parliamentary cretins.” He thought it was a great idea but it would never work because the rich would never allow the Left to take power peacefully.

The Communist view is also that you never have democracy under capitalism anyway, as the capitalists and the rich always ending ruling the state one way or another through all sorts of means. And yes, the rich and the capitalists always take over all the media in any capitalist country as you said, they use it to shape the view of the people to support the class politics of the rich. Such support being called false consciousness.

Gramsci said that the ruling class took over the entire culture in capitalist countries and brainwashed the masses into supporting the project of the rich. They did this via cultural hegemony. Marx said that the culture of the rich is always the popular culture in any capitalist country. So the ruling class turns all of us into “little rich people” or “little capitalists” to support their project. They brainwash us into thinking we are the same class as the rich and that we are all capitalists ourselves, so we should support Capital. These are lies, but most Americans are easily fooled.

Ralph Nader called this “going corporate” or “thinking corporate.” He says that in the US, most people adopt the mindset of the corporations and think of themselves are part of the corporate structure whether they are or not. If everyone is part of the corporate structure, then what’s good for corporations is good for all of us, which is the project of the Republican Party, neoliberalism everywhere, the Latin American rich, etc. It’s a big fat lie, but people want to be rich and a lot of workers want to think of themselves are busy little capitalist money-making, go-getter, can-do, Bossterist entrepreneurs because it seems to cool to own your own business.

And the Communists would call this false consciousness and their argument would be that under capitalism, most people adopt false consciousness.

I think in the US, the rich see the tide coming and the rule of the rich is going to end so they want to lock in as much of the state as possible by stacking the courts, gutting the safety net, massive tax cuts that will be impossible to get rid of, and that Constitutional Convention they are two states away from getting where they want to rewrite the whole US Constitution to lock in rule by the rich for as long as possible. The rich see the writing on the wall. That’s why they came up with the computerized elections scam, so they could steal elections as long as people kept voting against the rich.

The gerrymandering of districts now makes it almost impossible to get rid of Republican majorities on state representatives in the House and in Senators and Assemblymen in the states. It’s all locked in.

So as the rich saw the tide turning and demographics moving against them, they instituted a full court press to do all sorts of extremely anti-democratic stuff to stay in power. If the people would just vote for them anyway, they would not have to do that, but apparently most Americans have now turned away from the politics of the rich, so the rich will have to lie, cheat, and steal to stay in power from now on.

Also they elected Donald Trump, by far the most corrupt, authoritarian and even outright fascist leader this country has ever had. And this follows too. Whenever there is a popular movement against the rich and the capitalists, the rich and the capitalists always, always, always resort of fascism to stay in power. This has been proven endlessly over time, even in Europe. Trotsky had some great things to say about this. Check out “Thermidor.” Trotsky truly understood what fascism was all about. It is a desperate last ditch move by the ruling class to seize power in the face of an uprising from the Left.

The rich and the capitalists are determined to stay in power, by hook or by crook, by any means necessary, and they will lie, cheat, steal and kill as many people as they have to just to keep the Left out of power. They simply will not allow the Left to rule. They must rule and if they are out of  power, they will use any antidemocratic means to get power back.

Which is the story of the CIA, the Pentagon and 100% of US foreign policy since 1945 and even before then. Read Samuel Butler.

I mean, we on the Left generally allow the Right to take power if they do so democratically. Sure they destroy everything like they always do, but most of us are committed to the democratic means of seeking power. Even most Communist parties will not take up arms against any rightwing government, saying they prefer to seek power by peaceful means. Typically, the CP will issue a statement that the nation is not in a revolutionary situation right now. There are objective conditions under which a nation is said to be in a revolutionary situation. I’m sure you can recall a few. It is then and only then that most CP’s will go underground and issue a call to take up arms.

Frankly, almost all Left insurgencies postwar were defensive. The Left allowed the Right to take power and then the Right started running around killing people. Usually the Left sat there for a while and let themselves get killed before taking up power. I know the Viet Cong just sat there from 1954-1960 while the rightwing Vietnamese government ran amok in the countryside, murdering 80,000 Communists in six years. They kept asking the North Vietnamese for permission to take up arms, but the North kept denying it.

The Colombian, Salvadoran and Guatemalan guerrillas only took up guns after the state had been running about murdering them unarmed for years. The Salvadoran guerrillas said they got tired of sitting in their homes waiting for the rightwing state to come kill them, and they decided that if the state was going to come kill them anyway, they might as well pick up a gun and defend themselves. They also took up arms because the Right kept stealing elections by fraud.

The Right had cut off all methods of seeking power peacefully, so the Left picked up guns. The message is if you elect a leftwing government, sooner or later the Right will overthrow it and then there will be a reign of terror where many Leftists will be murdered. Knowing that, if you were a Leftist in some country, would you not be afraid to put the Left in power knowing you stood a good chance of being murdered once the inevitable rightwing coup took place?

The Colombian and Honduran governments only stay in power by killing people. Lots of people. The Greek Communists only took up arms after the government had been killing them for some time.

Also once a Left government is overthrown by the rich and the capitalists, the new Rightist government institutes a reign of terror where they slaughter the defeated Left for many years. This went on for decades after 1954 in Guatemala, and it goes on still today. After Aristide was overthrown, the rightwing government murdered 3,000 of his supporters.

After Allende was overthrown, Pinochet murdered 15,000 people over a decade and a half. A threat from the Left prompted the Indonesian government to fake a Left coup and murder 1 million Communists in a couple of months. Even before the Korean War broke out, from 1948-1950, the South Korean government killed hundreds of thousands of Communists in the South.

As they withdrew when the North attacked, the South Koreans killed South Korean Communists everywhere they went. After the fascist coup in Argentina, the government decimated the Left, murdering 30,000 mostly unarmed supporters of the Left. The same thing happened in Bolivia with the Banzer Plan when Hugo Banzer took power after the tin miners briefly sought power. The new rightwing government in Brazil is already starting to murder members of the former Left ruling party. They’re not going to stop.

After the fascist coup in Ukraine, the Communist Party was outlawed and many of its members were murdered. War was declared on labor unions. Workers in one union were chained to a heater inside the building and the building was set on fire.

The party supported by half the population (the Russian speakers and their supporters) the Party of Regions, was outlawed, a number of its deputies were murdered and there were attempts to murder the leader of the party, lastly by setting his house on fire which set his neighbor’s house on fire instead. He fled to Russia. Now half the population and all of the Russian speakers had not party to represent them, which is why they took up arms. They were locked out of power.

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Hardline or Fanatical Anti-Communism Is Nearly Always Reactionary

Sisera: I guess he would say you believe the philosophy but just not how it is being applied.

You should know by now that fanatical anti-Communists are almost always wildly irrational, typically pathological liars and usually reactionary shits. You should know by now that fanatical anti-Communists are almost always wildly irrational, typically pathological liars and usually reactionary shits.

Not that Communism is great or that there is no rational reason to oppose Communism of course. There is a rational way to oppose Communism, but most anti-Commies don’t seem to abide by it much.
I mean there ought to be space for pro-free speech, pro civil liberties liberals and progressives who are anti-Communists, but they never seem to pop up much.

I mean, Communists do violate a lot of civil rights and there are some serious problems with democracy in Communist states.

Witness the recent violent demonstrations in Vietnam for instance. Those demos are arguably leftwing or at least nationalist demonstrations protesting against objectively rightwing policy by the Vietnamese Communist government to set up more free enterprise zones with 99 year leases. The protesters fear that these will quickly be bought up by rich Chinese and Vietnam will just become a Chinese colony again as it was for centuries. I would support the protesters in this case, but here you see a Communist government enacting rightwing policy in the face of a Leftist opposition by the people. There’s a serious lack of democracy there.

Those of us who oppose police state tactics, support freedom of speech and assembly, extensive civil liberties, etc. would find that these values of ours are not supported by Communists at all.

But there are not a lot of good liberal or progressive rights-based people among the anti-Communists for whatever reason.

Hardline anti-Commies almost always tend to be conservatives or reactionaries, and I include the Democratic Party in the conservatives here.

Typically as you get further left, a lot of social democratic parties don’t really care about Communism. They are not going to implement it of course, but a lot of them think if you do, that’s your business. A lot of social democratic governments in Europe supported Cuba, the USSR and the Sandinistas and a lot even supported the FARC. The social democratic revolutionary PRI government of Mexico had warm relations with Cuba and Nicaragua. They even supported the FMLN guerrillas in El Salvador. They were headquartered in Mexico City. But the modern PRI is not even social democratic anymore, or its gone over the European garbage of rightwing social democracy.

Of course all the real left social democrats are gone now, and the only “social democrats” left are rightwing jerkoffs. Many of the parties in the Socialist International now would be characterized by this new rightwing social democracy. The fact that social democrats around the world have all become rightwingers and more or less neoliberals shows me that the Marxists were correct about social democracy. They always said it was bankrupt and unworkable. I think it worked fine for a while, but it probably always had the rightwing seeds of its own destruction planted within it somehow, and now they are bearing fruit.

Perhaps some of my commenters can elucidate the rightwing trend in social democracy, the reasons for it, and whether social democracy was doomed from the very starts, as I suspect, weighted down with its own contradictions.

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Why Does Albania Have the Lowest Average IQ in the Whole of Europe?

Answered on Quora.

I am thinking that perhaps the IQ of Albania or of the Balkans as a whole is in error. A lot of Lynn’s data has not held up well. His figures on Vietnam, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Croatia, and Northern Italy vs. Southern Italy are all false. Dr. Lynn seems to cherry pick his data to go along with his “latitude = IQ” hypothesis.

Someone sent me an article in a recent journal testing the IQ of Croatia. I forget what the score was, but it was ~100. That’s much higher than Lynn’s 90. I have a feeling that Lynn’s scores for those other Balkan lands may be off too. Maybe it is time to do some more testing.

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Repost: The Classification of the Vietnamese Language

This ran first a long time ago, but I just sold an ad on this post, so I decided to repost it. Rereading it, it’s a great Historical Linguistics post.

One of the reasons that I am doing this post is that one of my commenters asked me a while back to do a post on the theories of long-range comparison like Joseph Greenberg’s and how well they hold up. That will have to wait for another day, but for now, I can  at least show you how some principles of Historical Linguistics, a subfield that I know a thing or two about. I will keep this post pretty non-technical, so most of you ought to be able to figure out what is going on.

Let us begin by looking at some proposals about the classification of Vietnamese.

The Vietnamese language has been subject to a great deal of speculation regarding its classification. At the moment, it is in the Mon-Khmer or Austroasiatic family with Khmer, Mon, Muong, Wa, Palaung, Nicobarese, Khmu, Munda, Santali, Pnar, Khasi, Temiar, and some others. The family ranges through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, China, and over into Northeastern India.

It is traditionally divided into Mon-Khmer and Munda branches. Here is Ethnologue’s split, and here are some other ways of dividing up the family.

The homeland of the Austroasiatics was probably in China, in Yunnan, Southwest China. They moved down from China probably around 5,000 years ago. Some of the most ancient Austroasiatics are probably the Senoi people, who came down from China into Malaysia about 4,000 years ago. Others put the time frame at about 4-8,000 YBP (years before present).

A major fraud has been perpetrated lately based on Senoi Dream Therapy. I discussed it on the old blog, and you can Google it if you are interested. In Anthropology classes we learned all about these fascinating Senoi people, who based their lives around their dreams. Turns out most of the fieldwork was poor to fraudulent like Margaret Mead’s unfortunate sojourn in the South Pacific.

The Senoi resemble Veddas of India, so it is probably true that they are ancient people.  Also, their skulls have Australoid features. In hair, they mostly have wavy hair (like Veddoids), a few have straight hair (like Mongoloids) and a scattering have woolly hair (like Negritos). Bottom line is that ancient Austroasiatics were probably Australoid types who resembled what the Senoi look like today.

There has long been a line arguing that the Vietnamese language is related to Sino-Tibetan (the family that Chinese is a part of). Even those who deny this acknowledge that there is a tremendous amount of borrowing from Chinese (especially Cantonese) to Vietnamese. This level of borrowing so long ago makes historical linguistics a difficult field.

Here is an excellent piece by a man who has done a tremendous amount of work detailing his case for Vietnamese as a Sino-Tibetan language. It’s not for the amateur, but if you want to dip into it, go ahead. I spent some time there, and after a while, I was convinced that Vietnamese was indeed a Sino-Tibetan language. One of the things that convinced me is that if borrowing was involved, seldom have I seen such a case for such a huge amount of borrowing, in particular of basic vocabulary. I figured the  case was sealed.

Not so fast now.

Looking again, and reading some of Joseph Greenberg’s work on the subject, I am now convinced otherwise. There is a serious problem with the cognates between Vietnamese and Chinese, of which there are a tremendous number.

This problem is somewhat complex, but I will try to simplify it. Briefly, if Vietnamese is indeed related to Sino-Tibetan, its cognates should be not only with Chinese, but with other members of Sino-Tibetan also. In other words, we should find cognates with Tibetan, Naga, Naxi, Tujia, Karen, Lolo, Kuki, Nung, Jingpho, Chin, Lepcha, etc. We should also find cognates with those languages, where we do not find them in Chinese. That’s a little complicated, so I will let you think about it a bit.

Further, the comparisons between Chinese and Vietnamese should be variable. Some should look quite close, while others should look much more distant.

So there’s a problem with the Vietnamese as ST theory.

The cognates look like Chinese.

Problem is, they look too much like Chinese. They look more like Chinese than they should in a genetic relationship. Further, they look like Chinese and only Chinese. Looking for relationships in S-T outside of Chinese, and we find few if any.

That’s a dead ringer for borrowing from Chinese to Vietnamese. If it’s not clear to you how that is, think about it a bit.

Looking at Mon-Khmer, the case is not so open and shut. There seem to be more cognates with Chinese than with Mon-Khmer. So many more that the case for Vietnamese as AA looks almost silly, and you wonder how anyone came up with it.

But let us look again. The cognates with AA and Vietnamese are not just with its immediate neighbors like Cambodian and Khmu but with languages far off in far Eastern India like Munda and Santali. There are words that are found only in the Munda branch in one or two obscure languages that somehow show up again as cognates in Vietnamese.

Now tell me how Vietnamese borrowed ancient basic vocabulary from some obscure Munda tongue way over in Northeast India? It did not. How did those words end up in some unheard of NE Indian tongue and also in Vietnamese? Simple. They both descended long ago from a common ancestor. This is Historical Linguistics.

The concepts I have dealt with here are not easy for the non-specialist to figure out, but most smart people can probably get a grasp on them.

A different subject is the deep relationships of AA. Is AA related to any other languages? I leave that as an open question now,  though there does appear to be a good case for AA being related to Austronesian.

One good piece of evidence is the obscure AA languages found in the Nicobar Islands off the coast of Thailand. Somehow, we see quite a few cognates in Nicobarese with Austronesian. We do not see them in any other branches of AA, only in Nicobarese. This seems odd,  and it’s hard to make a case for borrowing. On the other hand, why cognates in Nicobarese and only in Nicobarese?

Truth is there are some cognates outside of Nicobarese but not a whole lot. In historical linguistics, one thing we look at is morphology. Those are parts of words, like the -s plural ending in English.

In both AA and Austronesian, we have funny particles called infixes. Those are what in English we might call prefixes or suffixes, except they are stuck in the middle of the word instead of at the end or the beginning. So, in English, we have pre- as a prefix meaning “before” and -er meaning “object that does X verb”. So pre-destination means that our lives are figured out before we are even born.  Comput-er and print-er are two objects, one that computes and the other that prints.

If we had infixes instead, pre-destination would look something like destin-pre-ation and comput-er and print-er would look something like com-er-pute and prin-er-t.

Anyway, there are some fairly obscure infixes that show up not only in some isolated languages in AA but also in far-flung Austronesian languages in, say, the Philippines. Ever heard of the borrowing of an infix? Neither have I? So were those infixes borrowed,  and what are they doing in languages as far away as Thailand and the Philippines, and none in between? Because they  got borrowed? When? How? Forget it.

Bottom line is that said borrowing did not happen. So what are those infix cognates doing there? Probably ancient particles left over from a common language that derived both Austronesian and AA, probably spoken somewhere in SW China maybe 9,000 years ago or more.

Why is this sort of long-range comparison so hard? For one thing, because after 9,000 years or more, there are hardly any cognates left anymore, due to the fact of language change. Languages change and tend to change at a certain rate.

After 1000X years, so much change has taken place that even if two languages were once “sprung from a common source,” in the famous words of Sir William Jones in his epochal lecture to the Asiatic Society in Calcutta on February 2, 1786, there is almost nothing, or actually nothing, left to show of that relationship. Any common words have become so mangled by time that they don’t look much or anything alike anymore.

So are AA and Austronesian related? I think so, but I suppose it’s best to say that it has not been proven yet. This thesis is part of a larger long-range concept known as “Austric.” Paul Benedict, a great scholar, was one of the champions of this. Austric is normally made up of AA, Austronesian, Tai-Kadai (the Thai language and its relatives) and Hmong-Mien (the Hmong and Mien languages). Based on genetics, the depth of Austric may be as deep as 30,000 years, so proving it is going to be a tall order indeed.

What do I think?

I think Tai-Kadai and Austronesian are proven to be related (more on that later). AA and Austronesian seem to be related also, with a lesser depth of proof. Hmong-Mien seems to be related to Sino-Tibetan, not Austric.

The case for Vietnamese being related to S-T is still very interesting, and I still have an open mind about it.

All of these discussions are hotly controversial, and mentioning it in linguistics circles is likely to set tempers flaring.

References

Author and date unknown, What Makes Vietnamese So Chinese? An Introduction to Sinitic-Vietnamese Studies.

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Two, Three, Many My Lais!

Here.

My Lai wasn’t the only such massacre conducted in the Vietnam War by US  troops. There were many more, but the number of killed in each incident was typically fewer. Numbers were often 10-20, but ranged from five to 30 all the way up to 100. Most took place between 1966-1968.

In fact, there were 19 Allied massacres in My Lai’s province alone in the first three months of 1968. A number of them were conducted by ROK South Korean troops.

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50 Years Ago Today

One woman approached me as she walked past and, pointing to her four children who were manfully helping the smallest ones over the rough ground, whispered: ‘How can you bring yourself to kill such beautiful, darling children? Have you no heart at all?’ One old man, as he passed me, hissed: ‘Germany will pay a heavy penance for this mass murder of the Jews.’ His eyes glowed with hatred as he said this. Nevertheless he walked calmly into the gas-chamber.

– Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz: The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess, 1951

my-lai-massacre-bodies

Bodies lie on the road heading out of the village of Son My, South Vietnam. There was not one military aged man in the entire village. All military men were no doubt either in the ARVN or even more probably in the Viet Cong.

50 years ago today, the My Lai Massacre took place at Son My, South Vietnam.

RIP to the 504 Vietnamese villagers, mostly women and children, who were murdered by US and South Vietnamese forces that day. It is not often reported that ARVN soldiers were involved, but looking at photos of the massacre, there were a number of soldiers with obviously Vietnamese faces mixed in with the Americans. US and ARVN soldiers often fought in mixed units.

My understanding is that My Lai was just the tip of the iceberg. There were many more murders of South Vietnamese civilians that were committed by US troops during the Vietnam War. Entire areas were termed “free fire zones.” That meant that you could shoot at any persons, Viet Cong and civilians, seen in that zone. Helicopters used to fly over rice paddies shooting at villagers in their rice fields. Anyone not directly associated with the US or South Vietnamese governments was considered to be an enemy in these free fire zones.

No one was ever really punished much for this war crime. Lieutenant Calley was convicted and sentenced to only three years of House Arrest. Colonel Medina was much more responsible, but he got off completely, not to mention other higher-ups who directly ordered the massacre. Soldiers were told that everyone in the village was VC and the orders were to kill everyone in the village. US troops had lost 40 men in the area in the previous months and they were out for revenge.

One Black US soldier was wounded in the massacre. He accidentally shot himself in the foot. He later claimed that he did this intentionally to get out of the killings. A US helicopter crewman who watched the massacre unfolding below landed his helicopter and got between the villagers and the soldiers and said they would have to kill him if they wanted to keep killing villagers. Incredibly, the entire event was recorded by US combat photographers.

The next day, US newspapers carried reports of a battle in Song My, South Vietnam in which 128 Viet Cong had been killed. Mysteriously, US troops suffered only one slightly wounded.

The day of the My Lai Massacre is now an annual holiday in Vietnam.

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Yes, the Vietnam War Was Wrong, and Yet, Thank You for Your Service

I did not like this war one bit, but I think we should go easy on the guys who fought over there. Face it, they are just pawns. Their country called, they answered. If if their country called them for a dubious thing, the fact that they answered is still worth something. My main beef against the US military is that we hardly ever fight on the side of the good guys anymore. We are always for the bad guys or at least fighting for some dubious cause.

And we commit war crimes like crazy, though we seem to be getting a lot better about this. The Rules of Engagement in Iraq were much stricter than in Vietnam and certainly than in Korea, where I wonder if we were even following any rules at all. We need to knock it off with the White Phosphorus already though. We no longer use napalm (thank God!) and we have ended the use of cluster bombs (good show!). We really need to end the use of all depleted uranium ammunition though. The stuff is toxic as Hell and it’s got to go.

Almost no enemy POW’s were executed in Iraq or Afghanistan. I am afraid that we did this in Vietnam (CIA’s abominable Phoenix Plan), and in Korea, it looks like there were some terrible cases of this and even of US troops executing hundreds of South Korean civilians. My Lai was not the only massacre in Vietnam. There were many more smaller ones. It was fairly common for US soldiers to rape and murder young Vietnamese women villagers, especially in enemy territory. No, I do not approve of setting huts on fire in villages. Free-fire zones were a complete abomination. Carpet bombing with B-52’s is madness. The use of Agent Orange was an outrage.

US troops were not really monsters. After Tet, severe cynicism set in among US soldiers. Drug use skyrocketed, especially heroin, and I believe ceasefires were often negotiated with the local NVA or Viet Cong. Fragging or assassination of hated officers by those under the command rose to epidemic levels. Many to most of the men felt that the cause they were fighting for was complete bullshit, and they were probably right. We had a draft in the US, and those men were called up and ordered to serve. You can hardly fault a soldier for being drafted into war.

But I will say that the US military is damn good. And I can respect that. The 173rd Airborne was legendary in Vietnam. It has long been said to be one of the finest units in the US military, and I believe they may still exist.

Does it make sense to say that you thought the war was a great big mistake and still thank the men who served for their service? I don’t know, but I am going to do it anyway.

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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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“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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The Peopling of Indochina

jw: Hi Mr Lindsay, where did the South Chinese come from? Are the Indochinese the same as the South Chinese?

The Vietnamese people came from Southern China about 4-5,000 YBP. There is a Vietnamese legend that says that the forefather of the Vietnamese people came from an area in Southern China near a large lake, the name of which escapes me now. I believe that legend actually lines up with the facts. There was a huge Southern Chinese Yue invasion of Vietnam 2,300 YBP.

There was also a huge movement of Chinese from Yunnan into Thailand 900 YBP.

There was some sort of similar large movement into Laos. In addition, in the last 300-400 years, there was a large movement of Southern Chinese Hmong people into the north of Laos. The indigenous people are composed of a number of small Mon-Khmer speaking groups in the southeast of the country. The Khmu are an example of such a group. The Lao people proper are very similar to the Thai linguistically and anthropologically.

The Indochinese people have a lot of Chinese blood in them, particularly the Vietnamese and the Thai. In both Thailand and Vietnam, the population is heavily mixed between an indigenous group of Paleomongoloids and the newer influx of Neomongoloid Southern Chinese. A good representative of the earlier stock of Paleomongoloids in Vietnam would be the rather primitive Montagnard people in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

Thailand has a large Indian component mixed in. Cambodia also has a large Indian component, and their Indian admixture is greater than that of the Thai. The Khmer are probably Paleomongoloid indigenous + Indians + a smaller number of Neomongoloid Chinese. The Khmer may have the largest Paleomongoloid component of the four nations.

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