by Ramin Mazaheri
In many ways this fear is justified: communism is a dirty word in the English culture. I recall getting my copy of “International Socialist Review” mailed to me in the United States – it arrived with a brown paper wrapper, the same as pornography.
(Please note: American mailing practices for pornography have been gleaned solely from second-hand information, of course, so I may be mistaken on this point.)
But perhaps it was better that my mailman thought I was getting porn instead of knowing I was a communist, LOL? Because nobody gets thrown in jail, spied on, harassed, denied loans, demoted, fired, shunned, insulted or deported for porn in the United States, but they sure do for promoting communism in “the land of the free”.
France, Italy, the Latin countries of the West – they do not have this prejudice as strongly, which is a major reason I chose to live in Paris.
But because this Anglophone fear is (unfortunately) understandable, many well-meaning, intelligent and prominent Western leftists simply cannot or will not openly call for communism or socialism.
This leads them to major cognitive dissonance, dissembling, tortuous word play, and, inevitably, at least partial renunciation of the communist-inspired economic controls which are vital to create and preserve human progress.
One such person who suffers under this phenomenon is the former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. I have been writing a series of articles based around his 2016 book, “And the Poor Suffer What They Must?” because it’s necessary to disprove fake-leftist economics.
Of course, the mainstream English-language media – rabidly anti-communist – would only promote a “leftist economist” if he or she were a fake one to begin with. Joseph Stiglitz, who shared my former hometown of Gary, Indiana, – an appallingly poor and violent steel town, and festering sore of modern capitalism – has also been debunked as a fake-leftist by me in this article here.
While Varoufakis is extremely commendable for repeatedly blowing the whistle on the scandalously undemocratic nature of the Eurozone (that appreciative article of mine is here), I write this article to point out that Varoufakis’ proposed solution to the still-unremedied Eurozone crisis is, in fact: plain ole’ communism.
The indispensable phrase for Varoufakis: ‘political’ surplus recycling
This phrase underpins the entire economic theory of his book. The lack of this is why the Eurozone has failed, per Varoufakis – implementing it would make it all better.
I cannot stress enough that this three-word phrase is all over his book from start to finish, and he would surely agree that I have correctly emphasized his view of its importance.
However, the quotation marks around “political” in the above subhed are mine and are necessary, because it puts the emphasis where it needs to be to truly get at the heart of what he is advocating. To paraphrase:
Because deficits and surpluses are inevitable between two nations which trade, there must be a multi-national mechanism/parliament/boss which redistributes wealth from surplus nations to deficit nations in order to ensure economic balance and social/regional harmony. In the absence of such a mechanism, a multi-national project like the Eurozone cannot function to create growth or equality for outnumbered members like Greece – they would be doomed to permanent debtor/deficit nation status, with all the loss of real political influence that entails inside said multi-national project.
The communist underpinnings of this view should be totally obvious to the politically initiated….
However, just because Varoufakis wants to call it by a different name – “political” surplus recycling – the principle remains the same: Even on an international level, there must be some coordinated, planned (political) redistribution (recycling) of the profitable wealth produced by our labor (surplus).
But this is never phrased in that clear-if-unoriginal way by Varoufakis, who has clearly refused to champion the world-famous phrase: “redistribution of wealth”.
It’s probably because the Anglophone world he has lived in for nearly half his life mostly shuts off their brains upon hearing that revolutionary, humanitarian slogan. Or perhaps Varoufakis is merely trying to give his idea the veneer of originality? Regardless, I find it staggering the lengths Westerners – and not just Anglophones – will go to in order to deny that communists have found any sort of answers which are in any way still valid in 2017.
Yet this economic principle even remains true at the level of a local feudal landlord, or a local factory owner, or a local pizza restaurant, as well as for the international socioeconomic relations between the 19 Eurozone nations.
My quotation marks around “political” make his phrase clearer because Varoufakis implicitly realizes that only government intervention – a political agreement/decision – can create equality, growth, and equal growth across regions.
This means that we are – just as Marx proved – back to the question of necessary “political” control over the economy. We all know the “Invisible Hand” is a myth. While many may remain silent on this, due to social intimidation, most halfway-intelligent people will at least roll their eyes upon being forced to listen at length to an “Invisible Hand” evangelist.
So “political surplus recycling” implies not just “redistribution of wealth” but also “central planning”, which is also an indispensable part of any socialist nation. This planning has allowed the Cubas, Irans and Chinas of the world to maintain steady growth despite the Great Recession caused seemingly-entirely by Western capitalist nations.
I find it staggering that these models are routinely ignored, especially Iran’s, and also that Anglophone idols like Varoufakis are unable or unwilling to call a spade a spade and simply say, “Communism still provides the key to economic stability in any modern, moral economy.”
Because even if Varoufakis rejects other key Communist tenets – one-party system, bans on capitalism, bans on far-right hate speech & groups, bans on divisive media – his entire book is based around this three-word phrase which is a thinly-veiled euphemism for the more common terms of “redistribution from rich to poor” and “central planning”.
Just say it openly, man!
As a reader, in many ways I resent Varoufakis for wasting my damned time, and everyone else’s.
‘Fair weather surplus recycling’ sows the problems…this is also known as ‘capitalism’
Varoufakis states that the catalyst for Europe’s problems – the poor socioeconomic policy – is relying on “fair-weather” surplus recycling (again, my quotation marks for clarity). To paraphrase:
Surpluses which have been generated (by government, profit, slave labor – whatever) are sent by bankers – or perhaps political actors – into deficit countries…obviously in order to find the greatest return on investment and not just to benevolently help. This obviously makes already-deficit nations even more indebted. But, at an inopportune time for deficit nations – lenders turn off the surplus tap: the loans end. The debts are called in. Repayment is obviously even harder than before.
This is a very important concept because it reveals the immorality of the richer Northern European nations.
Varoufakis calls this “fair-weather” surplus recycling because when the weather turns foul (due to crisis, shock, panic, war, etc.) the lending stops at the worst possible time. Those who have been encouraged to take on debt (with full knowledge that they could not repay in a crisis, and with full knowledge that crises are guaranteed in capitalism) are suddenly denied funds and are totally beholden to their debtors.
Therefore, economic foul weather only serves to strengthen the creditors even more. Bad economic weather is therefore good…for the 1%. This hidden reality is the foundation of the final part of this series, “Forced recession as a tool of social war against the 99%”.
This two-faced system of International banking is how control has been clinched over modern-day Greece, but also 19th century Egypt, Tunisia, the cultural continent of India and a cast of hundreds of other societies who could be explicitly named by post-industrial history.
But especially within the Eurozone:
“Fair-weather recycling, writ large, had taken over globally from the planned political recycling that was the essence of the Bretton Woods system. Though this was never going to end well, it had the capacity to put the global economy on a spending spree that lasted three decades before crashing in 2008”.
Only a fake Leftist, pro-Western (or perhaps just pro-Anglophone) economist like Varoufakis would espouse an allegedly benevolent aim for the “exorbitant privilege” of the US-imposed Bretton Woods system…but I find it morally irresponsible that Varoufakis uses a benign phrase like “fair weather” to describe a process which boils down to: entrapment, juice them for years, cut them off unexpectedly, deny any culpability, bust them out but not totally because they must be juiced for years/decades/lifetimes/generations/as long as possible…while also denying the People democracy, and also hypocritically going on and on about how communism is the greatest killer…which I heard just today on RMC Radio in Paris.
(The Black taxi driver and I listening to the radio agreed: the French (the White French) are willfully blind, hypocritical, extremely clannish, their arrogance causes them to waste the talent of so many millions and billions, etc. and etc. White people are not privy to such conversations, I imagine, and that is a shame – but I can guarantee you they are routinely held among the Colored. White Communists probably have such conversations with the Colored, I would certainly expect….)
But this system dominating Western European system – the same Western Europe where communism was born (but never implemented, sadly) – is the same process of the mafia loan shark or the predatory payday loan companies, and you don’t need to be a Muslim – or Colored – to be scandalized by that.
Obfuscation towards economic concepts is inherent in the Anglophone world
If Varoufakis had used Marxist language – if this self-declared “erratic Marxist” had even dared to reference Marx himself more than just two times in this book – we would not have been forced to spent so much time retreading the same old economic ground.
It is vital to acknowledge that – while the machines may change – in economics there is nothing new under the sun and Varoufakis should not peddle the illusion that there is: We have all been trying to come up with something new, and yet we have only been able to make improved critiques of the fundamental 18th and 19th century economists.
Unfortunately these essential points are totally lost on the West, where technocratism rules (and rules very poorly), where a desire for innovation reigns supreme, and the idea that having a PhD somehow implies that you cannot possibly be an immoral, soulless, greedy, bastard (Who more than Germany is in love with showing off academic titles? Who more than the French political class are in love with having published a book?)
Because our own unoriginality should humble us; because our championing of others’ worth is vital to social unity; it is the duty of the Varoufakis’ of the world to speak as honestly as possible on serious issues, just as it is my duty and yours as well.
Furthermore, in a very real Foucauldian sense, the problem with economics and the English language appears to be embedded in the depths of their cultural subconscious:
Bourgeois, proletariat, rentier – these are all foreign loanwords. I find this especially surprising, given that English has by far the greatest quantity of words in its language.
A case can be made that using these foreign terms internationalizes them, but I dispute that: the average Anglophone has no idea what a “rentier” is, even though he or she is sending them a check for monthly compound interest multiple times every month. “Proletariat” is outdated in a time when office cubicle drones are most definitely a part of the proletariat, even if most don’t believe it simply because they don’t work on a factory floor.
This failure of Anglophones to culturally contextualize key modern economic terms in their own language – even the verbose Irish – indicates how little interest there is in communism in their countries, but also how much cultural suppression of communism they have been subjected to.
Of course, many countries use the same loanwords for these economic concepts, so…subtract one point for Foucault and another for psychology.
Regardless, all this lack of clarity has generated a tremendous misunderstanding regarding economics across the entire, expansive, imperialist Anglophone world, especially.
Anglophones must accept: They are already communist, they just don’t believe it
“Central planning” does exist in Western capitalist/Anglophone countries: in the United States their economy is guided by the Pentagon, the world’s largest employer; which hands out the fruits of their taxpayer-funded research to private companies; which enriches their native bourgeoisie with hugely corrupt contracts; which provides jobs terribly ineffectively – as opposed to government investment in virtually in other sector – but very effectively enriches the 1%.
The arrival of the globalist Emmanuel Macron is likely the death of France’s “mixed economy” concept, which was based around the idea of the government setting and taking steps to encourage (centrally plan), clear industrial/economic/agricultural goals for the nation’s economy. This concept had allowed France to succeed to the point where their poverty rate and their productivity rate are still both better than Germany’s, but now things will certainly change for the worse.
And but a moment’s reflection will cause you to agree that Japan’s postwar economy produced the most staggering global results, hands down – who would have predicted that they would emerge from losing World War II to having the number two global economy? It is because their economy was based even more than France’s on governmental guidance.
When Japan gave that up in the mid-1980s – when neoliberal capitalism became the American ideology to export and enforce – that’s when the groundwork was laid for Japan’s “Lost Decade” of the 1990s, which has since turned into the “Lost Score”. I discuss this obvious “Japanese precedent” for the Eurozone in the final part of this series.
As for the communism already present in the Anglophone world: Do I need to get into social security for the elderly, the 40-hour work week, the living wage, universal health care, rent caps, seniority pay, capital gains taxes, progressive taxes, universal childcare, mass education, free higher education and on and on and on? It could not be more intellectually black and white: Every single one of these is a triumph of communist ideology, and every single one runs contrary to capitalist ideology, and they are all targeted for repeal by the modern neoliberal version of capitalism.
We hold these truths to be so very self-evident that I am not even going to elaborate any further.
The West’s obstinacy in refusing to call “communism” what it is – “communism” – is either ignorance or cowardice, but it certainly causes confusion, and confusion has its price.
Furthermore, at some point, and it wasn’t going to be 1992, people are going to realize that the fall of the Soviet Union did not at all force the abandonment of these specific, already-existing communist-inspired programs in the West and Anglophone world. It’s an obvious socio-cultural problem that communism cannot even be admired for its “legacy” despite be allegedly “dead”! (They are purely allegations, we all assure you….)
Another irony is that even though it is unthinkable for many in the West to renounce many of these programs – they even fight for pale facsimiles like Obamacare – Westerners and especially Anglophones also appear unable to realize their true communist paternity. And it is a single-parent household….
It will take the sacrifice of a generation – specifically, my generation – but the younger generation will pick up the communist banner again. That is certain, because all roads lead to (imperial) Rome.
Perhaps it is because I am Iranian and 500 BC is a common cultural/psychological presence, but the West’s constant obsession with rejecting/denying “ancient” history simply does not apply to fundamental economic philosophy…this innovation obsession is but a chimera when it comes to economics. Again I say, “habeas corpus, intellectually” – you cannot seriously posit than neoliberal capitalism is moral/cultural progress over economic socialism (you cannot even prove it is economic progress, LOL), and you cannot name a morally-superior economic philosophy which has been devised.
Regardless, the Great Recession will eventually remind the West that humans can fly with socialism, or be burdened by capitalism, and that there are no other choices.
Politics is moral, cultural & economic: Failure in one forces failure in the other
Not everyone likes to be a “proud leftist” – discussing politics or religion is verboten in Irish and Scots-Irish culture, for example. That’s a huge deal in the entire Anglophone world, with the sole exception of England. Modern analysts of America have agreed that Scots-Irish culture is essentially the dominant culture in United States, where it is so embedded that being “American” is actually being “Scots-Irish” time and time again.
The major problem here is that the Scots-Irish were imperialists and colonists, after all, in (still-divided) Ireland!
Everyone knows that the “real” Irish are Catholics; a Protestant Irishman was most likely an invading colonizer 13 generations ago, and only rarely a convert. But how many Scots-Irish in America even understand their own history…?
People in Anglophone culture think this “ancient history” has no cultural affect in 2017 – they are not just blind and mistaken, but easily disproven: the UK’s Theresa May was able to form a coalition only because she allied with the Ulster far-rightists to retain control of the UK government and thus keep imposing neoliberal economics. This is undeniable proof that the imperialist division of Ireland is still a tool used by the 1% to oppress the 99% in 2017 within the Anglophone world itself. It is not at all “ancient history” but… whatever, keep being in denial, and keep stealing St. Patrick’s Day too….
All of these mistakes – the false claim to be Irish, the denial that a divided Ireland is no longer relevant, the denial of what are clearly communist programs – show that there is some sort of tremendous dysfunction in the Anglosphere which prohibits them from discussing socially-important subjects like economics and imperialism, subjects whose ultimate base is morality. As we all know – the Scots-Irish famously “do not discuss religion or politics”.
I imagine it is the same in all of the Anglophone countries: even though none of them have been victimized by imperialism (the Irish speak Gaelic, or used to), and even though none of them currently have had puppets imposed who prevent democratic politics. Yet they staggeringly cannot discuss economic/political issues (which are moral issues always and religious issues for many) without becoming overheated, and thus their 99% actually impose an informal social ban on such topics of implementing economic morality.
Iranians are the opposite way, and it is encapsulated in a joke: “One Iranian plays alone. Two Iranians play with each other. Three Iranians talk politics!”
I’m not trying to claim cultural superiority: I am simply noting that this real, current, tangible generation or two of adult Iranians have been able to democratically wrest what precisely because they all got together, talked it over, and decided communally.
The same goes for China: How did they get to the point where their citizens report that their democracy became so vastly superior to the West’s version? Simple, it was driven by innumerable surveys, data and discussion which produced consensus; all of this feedback/will of the 99% is the heart of socialism; the true totalitarianism is for capitalism.
Taken from the link below:
“Financially, ninety-five percent of poor Chinese own their homes and land and the Chinese own, in common, the commanding heights of their economy– banks, insurers and utilities.”
You don’t get poor Chinese Trash to own their own trailer, nor poor Iranian trash to nationalize nearly all heavy industry as well as a huge amount of banks, insurance companies and farmland, without a LOT of prior discussion and a LOT of discussion afterwards on what constitutes equitable division.
I don’t think that Iranian joke goes all the way back to the era of Cyrus the Great, which proves that cultures change, a concept I find encouraging (but many White French absolutely do not, today’s taxi driver would agree). But undoubtedly, Iran had many decades of backwards monarchy while some nations were more modern and threw them off a century earlier or less (but not much earlier than a century).
The Anglophone/Scots-Irish model is a fine model in some ways but terribly unmodern in others (making it similar to all cultures): Talking honestly and openly about socioeconomic issues – about religion, politics and economics -is the only way lasting social change can possibly happen.
I hope this article put this simple but vital truth a bit more in the forefront of the minds of our readers, because that is why socialism keeps growing today.
Or, you can agree with Varoufakis and believe that he’s re-invented the wheel with “political surplus recycling”, that Marxist ideas are dead and buried, and that human history not only doesn’t matter but that it never repeats itself.
If so, please bookmark this page for when your next crisis occurs.
This small but necessary detour precedes the final part of this 7-part series, “Forced recession as a tool of social war against the 99%”. That article also tries to show the immutability and the international applicability of modern economic concepts, as well as the immutability of the antisocial tactics used by the 1% to deny democracy, economic equality and your personal empowerment.
This is the sixth article I have written in a 7-part series on today’s Eurozone which will combine some of Varoufakis’ ideas with my 8 years of covering the crisis first-hand from Paris.
Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!
Varoufakis book review: Rock star economist but fake-leftist politician
Why no Petroeuro? or France’s historic effort to create a permanently anti-austerity Eurozone
The hopelessly corrupt structure of the Eurozone & the Eurogroup
The Eurozone: still as primed for collapse as ever
The Eurozone has likely entered its final calendar year, contraction coming
The English-speaking world’s fear of calling communism, ‘communism’
Forced recession as a tool of social war against the 99%
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. He can be reached on Facebook.
It is only the capital gains tax , of the items on your list of must- haves for Modern Socialism status, that NZ ( or Godzone as we like to call it) does not currently have, but the same was a significant election issue.
And to not have central planning in a nation of less than five million souls would seem overly generous to the political class. We already have 120 Members of Parliament , plus ancillaries, for what is a no larger population than that of a small city. The fact that we even have such a political class of course prevents us from being truly socialist.
Communism has been proven(many times over) to be the most brutal, dysfunctional and inhumane system of governship ever devised by the human race. Why some people still believe it can work and be beneficial to the people I will probably never fully understand.
Communism has been proven(many times over) to be the most brutal, dysfunctional and inhumane system of governship ever devised by the human race.
This might or might not be true, but it all comes down to definitions and historical investigation.
Why some people still believe it can work and be beneficial to the people I will probably never fully understand.
And that is what Ramin was trying to explain. Too bad that it did not help you understand.
Term Communism is pretty much product of Western Propaganda…
I think nobody – but Western propaganda claimed there are communist states…
For reference there are official names of countries involved in COMECON
People’s Republic of Bulgaria (Народна република България)
Republic of Cuba (República de Cuba)
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (Československá socialistická republika)
German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik)
Hungarian People’s Republic (Magyar Népköztársaság) J
Mongolian People’s Republic (Бүгд Найрамдах Монгол Ард Улс)
Polish People’s Republic (Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa) J
Socialist Republic of Romania (Republica Socialistă România)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Союз Советских Социалистических Республик)
Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam)
This the fundamental dilemma at the heart of the term “communism”.
Benign? – or a totalitarian tool of the Rothschild banking cabal?
To survivors of WW1, men who’d seen the horrors of capitalist war for empire, coming home to a country where workers lived in filthy rat infested tenement blocks, 6 to a room paid starvation level wages and watching their children sicken and die from treatable illnesses which required a doctor’s fee to cure that they couldn’t afford, malnutrition being the biggest killer, working 15 hour shifts, 6 days a week in dangerous factories and with not a single state benefit if they should lose their job or get injured, as was common, to these workers the Russian revolution was the greatest event in world history. Full stop.
(My own grandfather told me that this was what he believed. He was a railwayman. He said all his mates felt the same way, they were all pro-communist ) With a glass of rum in him at New Year he’d sing The Internationale
Arise, ye starvelings, from your slumbers
Arise, ye criminals of want . .
I can see him yet, fist in the air, singing the chorus . .
“Then comrades, come, rally,
And the last fight let us face
Unites the human race”
But the greatest piece of knowledge his generation of workers acquired as they encountered communist ideas was the Marxist revelation that the only source of wealth – the only – is the working class since it is they who, through their labour and skill transform raw materials into durable goods on which we all depend.
The difference between what a worker gets paid and the real value of the goods he produces is the surplus value the capitalist factory owner calls profit.
Not only does the profiteering not stop at the workplace but of course as soon as the worker starts to spend his wages, he is robbed by the shops selling life’s necessities. They profit by buying the item as cheaply as they can and selling it to the worker at the highest price the market will bear.
Even after all that the worker’s money depreciates anyway in value each year called inflation and pretty soon the worker realises that the system he is part of is little more than a great big criminal racket from top to bottom ! And he is at the bottom !
Combine this with his realisation that his class, the working class, produce all the wealth in the first place to fund this racket and you get a feel for the tremendous power of communist ideas in the first half of the twentieth century. It is also driven to be fair by hatred, hatred of the morally degenerate, parasitic and obscenely wealthy ruling class but that is understandable.
(Interestingly and slightly simplistically but truer back then, the middle class, the people paid to administrate the working class to stop them threatening the ruling class, produce nothing. They too are 100% dependent on workers to make their shoes, bake their bread and pave their streets whilst through their taxes, the working class (much larger in numbers) pay their wages).
Marx helped people to recognise class warfare. For Marx class war was what it is all about. And raising class consciousness of the worker the remedy.
Workers recognised that they did have a weapon the ruling class feared – collective action, hence the labour movement and the right to strike.
It is worthwhile considering the following –
After ww2 the western ruling class allowed welfare benefits and social progress (health care, education, better housing) to take place as a “strategic concession” to their populations.
This “benevolence” though,was driven by one thing only – fear that the example of the Soviet Union would inspire workers to go the whole nine yards in the west and abolish capitalism altogether as the Soviets had so successfully done.
To deter this, the strategy was to raise western peoples’ standards of living which rose in the 60s and 70s, and so the threat of revolution faded.
It is no coincidence then that following the demise of the USSR in 1990, all social progress in the west disappeared and the ruling elite reverted to their overarching aims of maximum exploitation of their peoples and rolling back their social benefits and rights at home and ramped up global imperialist hegemony overseas.
We only had the “good times” of the sixties to the eighties because the USSR existed.
I am stating this objectively and whatever one thinks of the Soviet Union, pro or anti the fact is the capitalist class feared it’s example.
However . . . something happened. twenty million (some say more) Russians were murdered during the purges it seems. . . unexplainable. . .
The WW1 and WW2 generations are all long gone. Today the same capitalist parasite class has morphed into a global elite of jewish bankers and transnational corporations so wealthy they own entire governments and almost the whole world.
The “good name of communism” has been sullied by Zionism.
Suddenly we see that communists and Zionists are the same thing. Suddenly communism looks a bit naïve because the people in power don’t change.
Has it all been a hoax?
Autocracy is closer to what China has now, imo.
Communism and totalitarianism are sorely confused.
I think my wife and I share a real communistic relationship: no class divisions, total agreement required before action, group decisions, our wealth is our relationship, all that.
Communism applied to a nation state using money has certainly never been tried.
Communism has been proven(many times over) to be the most brutal, dysfunctional and inhumane system of governship ever devised by the human race.
Yes, sure, according to the cappitalist’s media?! When Stalin came to SSSR in 1930 – they suffered from hunger, but ih 1945. became a world superpower, and in 1953. the nuclear force. In WW2 SSSR lost up to 40mlns men in theirs best age; until 1965 got new 100mlns people .. and raised all of them, educated them, gave them a working place, appartment, and socialist opportunities in culture, sports, medical aid, tourism etc, etc. Why are still all the world artists from The East Block?
Stalin didn’t “come to the SSSR” during the famine, he caused it: Soviet famine in 1932 was a direct result of his policy of forced collectivisation of agriculture.
Since we are talking about economic miracles, how come no-one is mentioning Putin and what he achieved in very short.. or is he not communist enough for this group?
Varoufakis, during his brief stint as FinMin had coined the phrases “constructive ambiguity” to politely sell “debt forgiveness” to the Troika, and “the Institutions” to politely sell “the Troika” to the Greeks. He was always a fine wordsmith when it came to playing hide and seek with the truth.
When you have no strong convictions (apart from the belief in your own brilliance), it shows through and you end up alienating everyone. In such a case, don’t get into politics, just stay in academia. And indeed, he pissed off the Troika and the Greeks.
The term “communism” carries so much (mostly negative) baggage (especially in the US) that another term for it is needed for it.
Otherwise, any mention of communism inevitably results in someone listing all of the evils of the various groups that have attempted to impose communism on the world.
Slava Bogy for my friend Ramin, my comrade Mazaheri, wonderful article as usual.
A couple of things: I would not to let England off the hook when you rightly criticize the Scotish-Irish political culture. This Celtic Calvinism develops in a historical context influenced already by English Anglicanism.
Also, English socialism in fact has a clear “Herren-Volk” trait. In this sense there is nothing more overrated than “Old Labour”. Rememeber the Labour government that gave the Brits a fine socialist welfare state in 1945 is the same that does a Pontius Pilate on Palestine by washing its hands of political responsibilities, and also goes along with the partition of India. ‘Nakhba” went both ways in South Asia. So the two political catastrophes after WWII and before the collapse of the Soviet Union take place under that Old Labour government.
Plus, I want to believe for my respect of that generation of Nazi-fighting “Tommies”, that they certainly could tell who broke the back of the Wermacht and who saved their soldiers form a replay of Dunkirk at the Ardennes. Remember the Red Army anticipated (9 days) an all out offensive from Lake Balaton to the Baltic Sea to alleviate German pressure on them. Wonder how many extra soviet dead did anticipating 9 days a scheduled offensive, translated into.
I don’t believe that without a supremacist political culture the powers that be in England could have turned those soviets who saved their soldiers on the Siegfried line into Cold War enemies in such a short amount of time.
I certainly appreciate your sympathy for us Latin Europeans, but don’t forget the colonized bunch amongst us. These non-Anglo-Anglophile are folks who make the Ghurka Regiment look good. Remember those Nepalese who bled for England at… Nepal wages… Bad enough, but at least those fellows bled, and blood has a tragic trait. Our Latin colonial auxiliaries of Anglobalization are farcical at best.
Mind you, if we had some serious cultural self respect we would not have engaged in a European Union with the Anglo-Frankish-Germanic, but in a Southern Confederacy with South America. Cheers, hope to touch base with you soon.
What a delicious smorgasbord of political irony served up this morning in the Vineyard Food for Thought Court!
Ramin, followed by Scott.
Hijacker’s of Care and the Pretense to Care for the Common Good. And some actually do care, and within The Party purge the rats. This is not simple fare, it’s quite complex.
Communism must start with the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, all power to the Central Committee in order to break the capitalist oligarchy’s monopoly control of the means of production….total centralization in order to arrive at the heaven on earth where all care for each other, in perfect DEcentralization.
But beware the hijackers in between. You might not get to the destination you bought your ticket for.
My wife had a CP membership card (of the USSR) briefly in her twenties. When I explained that the Empire tradition in the west went from Rome to Venice to Britain and the Netherlands…and then captured the dumb Americans, she (20 years ago) said “Oh you are just jealous of the well-off British…because they “live well”. ”
Time to “live well” and forget that there might be a crisis here. Been there, done that, enough with the crisis already in Russia in the nineties, when she worked for six months that she never got paid for…………….
She didn’t understand the decline here until I showed her the “other LA” besides Rodeo Drive, the Getty in Malibu and Huntington Gardens in San Marino. She found it quickly enough when, before she had a driver’s license, she decided to take a bus downtown during my work day. LOL. She never did THAT again:
“Oh my GOD!!! Such strange people on the buses! Such poverty!! And so many people sleeping on the sidewalk!”
So here, in the Land of the Free Individualist you have a Constitution Preamble that lays out the principle of “The General Welfare”.
Where did that go?? In the last generation or two, ignorant americans who heard that preamble frequently reacted negatively, remarking: “Sounds COMMUNIST to me!”
As their Land of Opportunity got hijacked right out from under the majority of their dumb asses.
“I find this especially surprising, given that English has by far the greatest quantity of words in its language.”
Correction Ramin, that would be Dutch and then English, not very far behind on a good second place. :-)
Good article, thanks!
I’ve always heard it was English which had the biggest number of words?
“This question is practically impossible to answer, for the reasons explained in the answer to How many words are there in the English language? However, it seems quite probable that English has more words than most comparable world languages.
The reason for this is historical. English was originally a Germanic language, related to Dutch and German, and it shares much of its grammar and basic vocabulary with those languages. However, after the Norman Conquest in 1066 it was hugely influenced by Norman French, which became the language of the ruling class for a considerable period, and by Latin, which was the language of scholarship and of the Church. Very large numbers of French and Latin words entered the language. Consequently, English has a much larger vocabulary than either the Germanic languages or the members of the Romance language family to which French belongs.
English is also very ready to accommodate foreign words, and as it has become an international language, it has absorbed vocabulary from a large number of other sources. This does, of course, assume that you ignore ‘agglutinative’ languages such as Finnish, in which words can be stuck together in long strings of indefinite length, and which therefore have an almost infinite number of ‘words’.”
Yes, you’ve always heard (read) that because you read English texts but not Dutch, and what the English write may well be biased. ;-) The total amount of traditional and adopted foreign words in Dutch is, according to linguists, slightly higher than those words in the English language (estimated toward 1 million words). But because Dutch is also an agglutinative language Dutch wins hands down raising our good million to an estimated 3 to 5 million words.
The English always liked to be no 1 in anything. That’s why you will not read anything about which country’s army charged first against Napoleon’s army at the battle of Waterloo, just to name an example, or about the Dutch punitive raid against England in order to break the Chatham chain (installed for taxation purposes).
I support communist idea (or something like kibutz), but I do worry that it can end up like in USSR?
I really think that a man needs no more than: the sleeping bag, 3 meals, sneakers and sweat suit, and a laptop of course (and a free medical aid, security, education, culture, sports and any self-development). A society would be able to feed billions of members, if they didn’t ask for more than mentioned. But would it be enough strong to fight with the human deviations: greed, craving for power, violence?
The ruling oligarchy and their propaganda outlets have demonized “communism” “Socialism” and “Marxism” so long it has inhibited serious economic discussion. In the 70s Jane Fonda and husband had a good idea, they called it “Economic Democracy” . Prof. Hayek’s Book Road to Serfdom” is trotted out constantly. Michael Hudson has pointed out you always have central planning, either by a Board doing so or by investment bankers, or in the USA a combination of Bankers and generals.
One reason while all political discussion in the USA is slogans, euphemisms, and lies. The Democrats run a inverted form of National Socialism, call it “Identity Politics” and Antifa, which looks, acts , and talks like Brownshirt street thugs actually thinks they are anti fascist. The Demos have reversed Nazi racial hierarchies, LGBT and Jews at the top, hetero Christians at the bottom.
It is true that Anglophiles don´t want to call communism communism, but it is also true that present day Marxists have an extreme aversion to discussing the effects of C u l t u r a l M a r x i s m – or even acknowledge its existense, ie: identity politics and political correctness – and its effects.
So, until then, no form of Marxism can be taken seriously – and no author mentioning Marxism that avoids discussits modern variants can be either. The same goes for communism. It´s one thing to wax lirically about it, but something else to have people voluntarlity accept it – I think we all know that already.
Wordsmithing our way to a new interpretation of Communism and Socialism, or going from Individualism to Humanism. We begin with our self, as an individual, and then we hook up with another self, labeled an “individual” and begin communing: in conversation, in internet texting, and in other relations, this communal form of relating to someone else, is a form of communism, known as communalism, sometimes it’s referred to as a ‘marriage (possibly of convenience)’. Ergo, if you have ever lived with someone, you were a communist, living in a form of communal communism. When two communes (think couples) decide to dine out together, you have four gathered in a social setting, this night-out event occurs under a socialistic paradigm, and a Sociologist would study this interaction by labeling all the participants: Socialists A-D. The socialists are also communists, though all communists might not be social socialists, they might be sedentary commies who prefer to remain within their commune.
Any time a large gathering of people occurs, under the banner of one “label” (id est, “We are Americans”), with another large gathering of people under the banner of one “label” (id est, “We are Russians”), you have two communities or party of communists birthing socially sanctioned socialism. A society whereby every individual matters, and whose sole goal is the prospering of humanity under conscious Human interaction, would be known as Humanism.
Americans can not claim they represent all of society, thus “American Society” is better understood as ‘American Culture’. Society requires social interaction of different classes (or labels) beyond the scope of our everyday occurrence (my rules).
What is confusing about the two terms: Communism and Socialism, is that when you can go out to party in your neighborhood, your a social socialist, yet when we consider other States of Being & Relating, the same person might be referred to as a communal communist. So context, as well as intent matter when coming to an understanding of Communism or Socialism. And because intent is not seen, it is difficult to know precisely. And as we know, one’s intention is related to one’s motivation, and one’s motivation is linked to one’s will, and one’s will speaks to one’s purpose in the collective. Which means, without a clear goal or purpose in life, life will degenerate into cruelty and obscenity, aka, The American Dream: A Malignant Narcissists voyeurism.
“Central planning” does exist in Western capitalist/Anglophone countries: in the United States their economy is guided by the Pentagon”
Have to disagree. I think it is by the financial sector.
I agree that high finance plays a larger role overall, but I think my point still stands:
The Pentagon gets $600 billion out of $4.4 trillion in total government spending, or 15%. 15% is a pretty big finger on the scale, no? The government can’t control everything of course, but 15% is a very influential minority that can make or break whole lot of people and projects, and help steer things in a certain direction.
So, given that government spending is 25% of total US GNP, allocating 15% of that to just one industry sector constitutes a real effort at central planning to me.
This is actually an advert for a life insurance company, but the actions of the man portrayed in it display an influence of that evil communism the fascist, now zionazi, west hates and fears so much…
“Unsung Hero” Thai Life Insurance 2014 (HD)
Why the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) Won the Election
The MUD lost the state governor elections of October 2017, less than 2 years after they had won the congressional elections, by demonstrating their incompetence, their propensity for violence against serious democratic adversaries and their incapacity to fulfill any programmatic promises.
The PSUV won because of the Chavez legacy, the decision by middle-of-the-road voters to support a pragmatic ‘lesser evil’ over a violent opposition ‘greater evil’ promising chaos. Many voters are desperate for new and better policies to address Venezuela’s current economic challenges. Finally, many Venezuelans rejected US President Trump and OAS President Almagros’ blatant, arrogant assumption that they knew what was best for the people of Venezuela – even if it meant blood in the streets..
In the end, the Chavez legacy of successful class and national struggles carried more weight with the voters than the negative, chaotic impotence of a subservient opposition. The US/Venezuelan mass media’s efforts to undermine the government were defeated because the people responded to the socialist message that US-led economic warfare, and not government mismanagement, was the key cause of their social and economic decline. They had experienced more than a decade of independent foreign policy and Bolivarian socialist programs to compare with the chaos of ‘regime change’ promised by Washington and the opposition.
The Left won the battle for now but the war continues.”
Ramin, you claim that “Japan’s postwar economy produced the most staggering global results, hands down ” and “When Japan gave that up in the mid-1980s – when neoliberal capitalism became the American ideology to export and enforce – that’s when the groundwork was laid for Japan’s “Lost Decade” of the 1990s”
Japan is a cautionary example for how state interventionism can cause massive economic swings, boom-to- bust: In 1985 Japan signed the Plaza Accord (an agreement for the devaluation of the US dollar). This resulted in the Yen being too strong for Japan’s export based economy, so the Japanese tried to lower the Yen by ultra low interest rates and monetary stimulus. This caused a massive speculative bubble in their economy which they then tried to get rid of by increasing interest rates. This is what led to the correction in asset prices and stock market crash, marking the beginning of the lost decade. Sorry, but it has nothing to do with “capitalism”- it was all self -inflicted by the Japanese government and their central bank.
Hi Serbian Girl,
You wrote: “In 1985 Japan signed the Plaza Accord (an agreement for the devaluation of the US dollar).”
Did somebody leak you a copy of my last article in this series?!?! LOL!
I see your point but I have a different interpretation of it. Perhaps you’ll find it’s a bit interesting?
You mean your 7th article?
You talk about the Plaza Accord in it?
Tell me your interpretation. I’ m hooked now!
One reason the Japanese production was so high and efficient is because the workers were paid for 40 hour weeks but in reality put in like 14 hours of work per day on the average.
I once read a ‘forbidden’ book written by an employee of the Toyota factory. He wrote that if workers would manage to keep up with the assembly line, the next day the speed would be turned up, but if they failed to do so they’d be punished with overwork and salary threats, etc.
After such work days people would go straight back home or to a dormitory to eat and to sleep, thus no time to spend much if any of their money.
That was pure capitalism and pure slavery…, and the reason I never wanted to buy or drive a Toyota.
You’ll just have to wait Serbian Girl! I do discuss the Plaza Accord in the seventh and final part, so stay hooked! Should be out this weekend, if I’m not too lazy.
I’m sorry to be late commenting on this article, but I don’t see the point I would have raised in the earlier comments, so I will add it now.
Was FDR a,communist? No, he was not. Yet it is the restrictions he placed on capitalism which served as a model for Western nations and kept the economy functioning on behalf of all the people. It is that model which has been under attack from the elites ever since, and while it may serve communism to point out the similarities between that and the communist states, the fact is there is an historic actuality that was not communism but did restrain the excesses of capitalism to great effect – and that is what is being woefully ignored, in my view.
I would even go so far as to say that President Putin is more a New Deal democrat than he is a communist. Again, the two systems have similarities with regard to restraining capitalism but they are not the same animal.