Biden’s Totally Failing Foreign Policies

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Eric Zuesse




To borrow from Trump, this is life in a "shithole nation", a nation like Somalia the US can bomb with impunity.


Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture

 
Joe Biden came into the U.S. White House promising to change Donald Trump’s foreign policies, but didn’t even try to change them, and instead he has continued them, and has failed with them exactly as Trump did when he was the President. Here are some examples:
 
1. The nuclear agreement with Iran (the Obama-negotiated “JCPOA” for Iran to stop research that might be useful for developing nuclear warheads): At first, Biden demanded that Iran stop continuing to develop missiles (which was a demand that Trump had made), before Biden would even negotiate with Iran on anything, including the JCPOA. Iran stood firm on refusing to make any preliminary concessions, and insisting that America simply rejoin the JCPOA that America had signed-to under Obama and then abandoned under Trump. Biden started to negotiate with Iran in Vienna though Iran had refused to change its position on developing missiles. Biden was negotiating though he had said he wouldn’t unless Iran first complied with his (which had been Trump’s) demands. Biden lost.  
 
“‘Maximum Pressure’ Against Iran Has Failed. What Will Biden Do Next?”, and reported that the longer those fake ‘negotiations’ continued, the more embarrassing the results would turn out to be for Biden. This is total failure of Biden’s (Trump’s) Iran-policy.
 
“U.S., Germany reach agreement on Russian gas pipeline, ending dispute between allies”, and delivered the U.S. Government’s spin on this capitulation (which was NATO’s spin on it): “In exchange for an end to U.S. efforts to block the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Germany will invest in Ukraine’s green technology infrastructure, and Berlin and Washington will work together on initiatives to mitigate Russia’s energy dominance in Europe.” However, Germany’s alleged concession, or ‘commitment’, was purely nominal, and would be virtually inconsequential even if it were to become embodied in enforceable legal terminology. Again, it was simply lipstick on a pig.


Psychopaths don’t apologize — unless they’re forced to. That’s because they have no conscience. And Biden, like all recent American Presidents, is a representative of that reality, and of the arrogance of America’s billionaires, the people who are being served by the permanent-warfare state: the U.S. Government.
On August 3rd, NATO’s main PR arm, the Atlantic Council, then issued, via Politico, a fluff-piece trying to present America’s humiliating defeat on the Nord Stream 2 matter as having been, instead, a victory for both America and Germany. The Atlantic Council’s John R. Deni headlined there “Why Central and Eastern Europe should be cheering on Nord Stream 2”, and he argued, basically, that the July 21st agreement — whatever it might turn out to be or to mean — was a win for Washington, because “The alternative, Washington’s unilateral sanctions on German businesses, only strengthened the voices of those in Berlin who favor a more ambivalent German policy toward great power competition — one that pursues an equal distance between the U.S. and Russia.” In other words, implicitly, Deni was saying that Biden’s objective of preventing the completion and operational start of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was stupid, and that NATO was just lucky that Biden had failed on it. This was therefore, implicitly, a statement by NATO praising Germany and criticizing the United States.
 
4. Israel & Palestine: On 11 May 2020, the Biden campaign had issued its vague ‘policy’-commitments regarding Israel and the Palestinians, such as these:
“JOE BIDEN AND THE JEWISH COMMUNITY: A RECORD AND A PLAN OF FRIENDSHIP, SUPPORT AND ACTION” 11 May 2020

A Biden Administration Will:
• •Sustain our unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security – including the unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation pioneered during the Obama-Biden administration, and the guarantee that Israel will always maintain its qualitative military edge. 
• •Work with the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to support peacebuilding efforts in the region. Biden will urge Israel’s government and the Palestinian Authority to take steps to keep the prospect of a negotiated two-state outcome alive and avoid actions, such as unilateral annexation of territory and settlement activity, or support for incitement and violence, that undercut prospects for peace between the parties. 
• •Reverse the Trump Administration’s destructive cutoff of diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority and cancellation of assistance programs that support Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, economic development, and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza, consistent with the requirements of the Taylor Force Act, including that the Palestinian Authority end its system of compensation for individuals imprisoned for acts of terrorism.
• •Urge Arab states to move beyond quiet talks and take bolder steps toward normalization with Israel. • •Firmly reject the BDS movement — which singles out Israel and too often veers into anti-Semitism — and fight other efforts to delegitimize Israel on the global stage. 
• •Hold Iran’s government accountable and rejoin a diplomatic agreement to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, if Iran returns to compliance with the JCPOA, using renewed commitment to diplomacy to work with our allies to strengthen and extend the Iran deal, and push back against Iran’s other destabilizing actions. 
• •Ensure that support for the U.S.-Israel alliance remains bipartisan, reversing Trump’s exploitation of U.S. support for Israel as a political football, which harms both countries’ interests. 
• •Support the critical economic and technological partnership between the United States and Israel, further expand scientific collaborations and increase commercial opportunities, and support cooperation on innovation throughout the region./su_note]
 
For example: regarding “Reverse the Trump Administration’s destructive cutoff of diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority and cancellation of assistance programs that support Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, economic development, and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza”:
 
the only thing that Biden has done thus far on this is: 
25 May 2021
“Blinken did not give a precise date for reopening the consulate but said it would be ‘an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people’.”
 
America’s foreign policies are bipartisan, at least 95% neoconservative (i.e.: supporting U.S. imperialism) in both of America’s political Parties. The permanent-warfare state is America. And the continuation of the warfare-state after WW II (post-1945) in America is what made it permanent here. When World War II — the war against the Axis powers (the fascist powers) — ended in 1945, the military-industrial complex took control in America, and instead of waging war to preserve democracy (which had been FDR’s objective), the goal of America (starting on 25 July 1945) has been waging war to spread the U.S. empire everywhere. In this, both of America’s political Parties are united. It’s the American sickness, which infects all successful U.S. politicians. (It does so because America’s billionaires profit enormously from expanding the U.S. empire, and won’t support any politician who opposes imperialism.) There’s no actual market for peace, in America, because America’s (that is, its actual rulers’, its billionaires’) aim is global conquest — not national security, and not peace. 
 
War is America’s business; and, after WW II, it’s all based on lies, and this is how it’s sold to the American public (by lies), so that,other than “small business,” the military is the most trusted institution in America (and “the military” used to be clearly the #1 most trusted American institution). Neoconservatism (U.S. imperialism) has replaced patriotism, in America, ever since the end of WW II. America is on the warpath. 
 
We lost in Vietnam and many other places, but America’s billionaires keep on winning, and so the lies for yet more wars keep on coming, and they apparently never stop. (But, perhaps now that “small business” is as trusted by Americans as “the military” is, that might now start to change.) 
 
This is why (for example) on 6 August 2021, an eloquent and accurate op-ed by Maitreya Bhakal at RT headlined“The richest and most war-mongering nation on Earth is still addicted to bombing poor, defenseless nations”, and he opened: “A nation-state version of a psychopath, the US refuses to give up its addiction to bombing innocent people. In just over a month, it’s bombed Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan – and shows no signs of developing a conscience.” Nothing he said there was an exaggeration. And the U.S. regime’s top rule is: Never apologize. It didn’t apologize to Vietnam. It didn’t apologize to Iraq. It didn’t apologize to Syria. It didn’t apologize to any of its many victim-nations. It doesn’t apologize any more than Hitler’s regime did. 
 
Psychopaths don’t apologize — unless they’re forced to. That’s because they have no conscience. And Biden, like all recent American Presidents, is a representative of that reality, and of the arrogance of America’s billionaires, the people who are being served by the permanent-warfare state: the U.S. Government.
 
Maybe the reason why “small business” became, in 2020, at least as respected by Americans as is “the military” (the socialized — that is, taxpayer-funded — servants to America’s billionaires) is that the covid-19 pandemic, which has done so much to increase the wealth of America’s billionaires, decimated America’s small businesses. Joe Biden still represents the billionaires. He has never changed. But maybe America, for the first time since 1945, is about to change. Maybe, finally, this psychopathic country will start to apologize for what it has been since 1945. But this is very unlikely to happen on Joe Biden’s watch. He has been part of America’s problem for as long as he has been in American politics. Both of America’s political Parties represent only America’s billionaires — not the public, anywhere.
 

 

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RULING CLASS FEARS OF THE DAY OF RECKONING: HISTORICAL CAUSES FOR THE BIASES AGAINST CROWDS

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.





 Orientation

As I was looking at images to place at the beginning of this article, I was struck by how many images and quotes there were of Le Bon. It is pretty amazing for someone whose first work was published in 1895 and whose last works are still around 100 years old. It is especially strange given how unscientific his methods were and how recent empirical studies of crowds like David Miller’s Introduction to Collective Behavior and Collective Action contradicts virtually everything Le Bon claimed. Why is Le Bon’s work still circulating despite lack of scientific rigor? Why have the last fifty years of research on crowds that have a solid scientific basis been ignored?

Purpose of this article

The purpose of this article is to:

  • Expose the propagandist roots and branches of our biases against crowds while showing some of the scientific evidence that supports the actual behavior of crowds.
  • To outline what historical events occurred that supported the prejudice against crowds.
  • Propose that it is ruling-class fears of crowds that fuels the perpetuation of unscientific theories about crowds.
  • Propose that ruling class fears that working-class people mobilized into crowds will seize their resources, destroy their property and enslave them.

Crowds vs Masses

Crowds are large collections of people who meet at the same place at the same time and are large enough that it is difficult to have a central conversation. A loudspeaker, microphone or some external device is necessary to have a single central discussion.  There are different kinds of crowds. There are casual crowds like those that meet by chance at the scene of an accident or a fire. They may congregate to watch a building go up or be torn down. A second kind of crowd is long lines that form to buy tickets to ball games or musical concerts.

An audience is a more formal crowd with a more deliberate focus. Examples are attending a musical concert or a sporting event. Lastly, there are unconventional crowds that can lead to riots, lynchings, protests and demonstrations. Mass behavior involves large numbers of people who are spatially dispersed but participate in common activities like fads or fashions.  Mass behavior involves the use of radio (Orson Wells, War of the Worlds) television, movies which often lead to rumors or urban legends.

Questionnaire on Crowds

In order to understand the purposes of this article, I ask that you spend about 25 to 30 minutes answering the following true-false questions. For the answer to be true, it simply means most of the time, not all the time.  For the answer to be false, it just means it rarely happens, not never happens. Follow your answer with a one-sentence justification. Feel free to draw from your experience as well as what you’ve read. It is important to answer quickly and spontaneously and not dwell on the answers. One purpose of the questionnaire is to see if you think there are any significant differences between how people in crowds behave (collective behavior) as opposed to how small groups or individuals behave.

Here are the True – False questions:

  • Most crowds consist of strangers, rather than family, friends or acquaintances.
  • The percentage of violent behavior is higher in crowds than in small groups such as a musical band or a baseball team.
  • The behavior of crowds is more likely to be unanimous than the behavior of small groups.
  • Crowds of people are more likely to engage in unusual or extraordinary behaviors than either groups or individuals.
  • The behavior of individuals and small groups is more likely to be rational than the behavior of a crowd, which is more likely to be
  • There are certain kinds of personalities that are drawn to crowds that you could predict would join a crowd if you knew enough about their personalities.
  • There is a disproportionately higher number of working-class people in crowds compared to other social classes.
  • Compared to people without legal convictions, there is a higher percentage of criminals in crowds.
  • Individuals and small groups that are more likely to deliberate and plan their actions are less likely to be spontaneous.
  • You could predict that most individuals are more likely to lose their personal identity in a crowd rather than alone or in small groups.
  • Emotions are more likely to spread by contagions in a crowd rather than in a small group.
  • Groups are easier to disperse than crowds because people in crowds want to linger longer.
  • There has been more research done on crowds than on groups because the behavior in crowds has greater social impact.
  • People conform less to norms in crowds than they do in groups or as individuals.
  • Most violence in crowds is caused by the participants in the crowd rather than the police.
  • There is a higher degree of unpredictability of behavior in crowds than there is in small groups or within an individual.
  • The goals of a crowd are more extreme and unconventional than the goals of groups or individuals.
  • Riots are equally likely to happen regardless of the season of the year.
  • The most typical reaction to a natural disaster or emotional shock is panic – that is, uncontrolled individualistic flight as opposed to a rational, deliberate response.
  • There is a correlation between which people will engage in a protest and their political beliefs before the protests.
  • The most likely group to join a movement is the group who has absolute deprivation of resources as opposed to relative deprivation or no deprivation.

 The last three questions are about mass behavior, not crowd behavior:

  • Fads are less predictable than fashions.
  • Rumors begin mostly because people lose their ability to investigate before coming to a conclusion.
  • Fashions exist in all societies – tribal and industrial – as well as industrial.

Myths vs Facts About Crowds

In their book, Social Psychology, Delamater Myers and Collett, citing the research of Carl Couch, Clark McPhail, David Schweingruber and Ronald Wohlstein argued that there are seven basic myths about crowds. They are:

  • Irrationality
  • Emotionality
  • Suggestibility – mindless behavior
  • Destructiveness
  • Spontaneity
  • Anonymity
  • Unanimity of purpose

Through these seven myths we are likely to see why all the answers in relation to crowds to the True-False questions are false. The only true answers are the first two questions about masses. Rather than explaining why every single question on crowds are false, I will speak generally and then answer a few questions specifically.

Are crowds wholes that are less than the sum of their parts?

One of the great underlying beliefs about crowds is that terrible things happen in a crowd that somehow would not happen in a small group and especially at an individual level.  Individuals are seen as rational, non-violent and prudent, but once the individual is surrounded by enough other individuals, things turn sour. The belief is that while individuals and groups may have differences with each other, those differences melt away in a crowd as individual members turn into a group hive. In fact, differences between individuals and small groups are maintained in crowds. To cite one example, in riots, crowds rarely act in unison. Some throw rocks and break windows. Others climb telephone poles and smash statues. Others disapprove and try to talk the others out of armed conflict. Still others are altruistic and help protesters who have been injured by cops.

Who is orderly and disorderly in crowds?


Chilean women, shot by the police in the eyes, participate in a mass protest in the capital. Aiming rubber bullets at the eyes is a technique of intimidation taught by Israeli teams to Chile's police. They also recommend shooting rubber or real bullets on the legs, especially knees, of demonstrators, an act that often cripples the victims for life. Such techniques have long been used on Palestinians.

Since the Yellow Vests began protesting in France in 2018, more than 24 demonstrators have lost an eye to snipers in the French police. This new approach to "crowd control" has ignited even more determination among the Gilets Jaunes to continue their just struggle. Most people who have stopped to talk to Gilet Jaunes have been impressed by the clarity of their responses to questions regarding their motivations.

Speaking of cops, research on mass psychology has shown that most of the time, contrary to Le Bon, riots are started by the police, not the crowd. Furthermore, crowds assemble and disassemble at ballgames and concerts without any police necessary. Once gathered crowds do not stick together like honey. They easily disperse and really do not need the police to do so. I have been to many a Yankee and Knicks game in which the crowd, anywhere from 15 thousand to 30 thousand people leave the game, peacefully get on the train and talk about the ballgame. There is no need for police because nothing controversial happens. For conservatives like Le Bon, they cannot imagine that crowds regulate themselves. For them crowds are filled with animalistic, hedonistic barbarians who need the police to whip them into order.

Are working-class people more likely to be disorderly?

There is some truth to the fact that a higher percentage of working-class people will be in crowds. This has more to do with the reality that middle-class or upper-middle class people can afford to take a taxi to a ball game or a concert instead of taking the train. But this has little to do with the behavior of working-class crowds. Furthermore, plenty of protests are filled with upper-middle class anarchists who torch police cars and topple monuments. There is no clear relationship between social class and crowd violence.

How unpredictable are crowds?

Another one of Le Bon’s mistaken generalizations about crowds is that people in crowds act without rhyme or reason. This demonstrates, as an upper middle-class doctor, Le Bon has no understanding of all the deliberation and planning that goes into protests on the part of the organizers. This planning goes on weeks before the event. It is true that unpredictable things happen in protects, but they are exceptions to the rule. Furthermore, individuals act in unpredictable ways, as in the case of mass shootings. Individuals get caught up in cults and act in unpredictable and astonishing ways. Cults are large groups, not crowds.

Are emotions in crowds contagious?

The idea of violent, irrational, and out-of-control crowds, was perpetuated by conservative observers of the great social tumult they saw in the French Revolution. People like Burke and Dickens did not understand the dynamics of such upheavals, the valid reasons for group action, and therefore focused only on the uglier side of such events, often caricaturing the protagonists and their motives.


People are every bit as emotional in small groups as they are in crowds. There is nothing contagious about emotions in crowds. People maintain emotional judgment while in the crowd. In fact, the leaders of protests harangue people to sing and chant as a way to unify the group. Just being in a crowd does not automatically unify the individuals. It takes work to do so. When faced with members of a crowd who become hysterical, rather than mindlessly joining in, other members of the crowd will distance themselves and exercise the same prudence that individuals or people in small groups will.

Is the crowd to social life what Freud’s id is to individual life?

Le Bon, Freud, Bion and the rest of the crowd psychologist we will soon meet think that at the social level the crowd is like the id, lurking on the margins of society waiting for a chance to jump out and wreak havoc. This is exemplified in the movie Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. In natural disasters these crowd psychologists imagine that the socialized ego is swarmed by the individualistic dictum, “every person for himself”. They imagine the results are pillaging and raping. The trouble is that research on behavior in natural disasters shows that people are consistently heroic and cooperative.

One hundred years of neglect of scientific research on crowds

Lastly, unlike individual psychology and group psychology the scientific study of crowds and masses lags way behind. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that the first research was done. Why is this? On the one hand, studying crowds is far more difficult because crowds are so large and their life-times short. But something else was going on. Why were Le Bon’s, Tarde’s and Sighele’s, speculations allowed to stand unchallenged and repeated mindlessly in social psychology textbooks for almost 100 years? In large part it was because their theories served the interests of the ruling class.

Historical Reasons for the Biases Against Crowds

Growth of cities

One of major changes in European history and geography was the gradual reversal of numbers of people living in cities compared to those of people living on farms.  People move to cities in part because there is more work, but also, as the saying goes, “city air makes you free”.  Some people felt trapped by the nosiness and stifling customs of rural life. Non-conformists to religious traditions, artists and hustlers with big dreams were drawn to cities for a chance to start fresh. Living on a farm, the general expectations was that you would engage in the same occupation as your parents. Moving to the city broke that tradition and it raised expectations. Especially those living in coastal cities who were exposed not only to people coming from different cities within Yankeedom, but people from other countries were also looking for work. Different languages, different religions, and different political traditions converged.

There are rarely, if ever, crowds in rural areas. While farmers may get together on holidays, everyone knows everyone else and rarely are strangers invited.  Even when farmers would go to town to get supplies, the overwhelming number of people knew each other and greeted each other. There were no stadiums or concert halls in which large numbers of people could congregate to watch professional sports or music. Long before the Industrial Revolution, crowds in cities would gather to hear political speeches. So, what we have in pre-industrial cities are relatively rootless people with raised expectations, surrounded by strangers from different cultures for whom being in a crowd is becoming normal.

The Great French revolutions

As most of you know, the French Revolution of 1789 overthrew both the king and the aristocrats as the merchants rose to power on the backs of artisans and peasants. The revolution was also anti-clerical. Churches and chateaux were burned to the ground. The aristocrats never forgot this. As if your memory needed any jogging, there were more revolutions in Paris in 1830 and 1848. In all these revolutions, crowds are violent and know where the upper classes live. Doesn’t it start to make sense that the study of crowds would never be objective so long as the upper classes were threatened by them and therefore controlled the research on crowds? In this case they made sure no research was done.

Industrialization

At the end of the 18th century and throughout the 19th century, cities became industrialized.  People were forced off the middle of streets to make way for wheeled vehicles accompanied by horses and later, trolley cars. Grid systems of streets were built which speeded up transportation and the circulation of goods. Industrial capitalists built factories in cities as opposed to artisan shops in the countryside (the putting out system). The emergence of factories had enormous revolutionary potential because it brought large numbers of people working under horrible conditions together. For 12-15 hours a day, at least six days a week, people have a common experience while all in the same place and the same time.

Formation of unions

It is no accident that unions first formed in factories. When common experience is concentrated at the same place and same time, people are likely to compare experiences and accumulate grievances. Some workers begin to recognize that they have collective power if they can organize themselves. They can strike for better working conditions and better wages. Unions made crowds more dangerous because crowds can, in an extremely chilling way, stop and start the work process itself. This is like cutting off the blood supply for vampiric capitalists.

Emergence of socialism

The first socialists were theoretical and utopian—they explored idealist conceptions of social transformation. William Godwin was the first theoretical anarchist, writing Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. In the early 19th century, there were utopian communities set up by Robert Owen, Charles Fourier and others but none of these communities were connected to unions or workers movements. It wasn’t until the writings of Marx and Engels that socialism was really connected to worker’s struggles. The socialism of Marx and Engels or the anarchism of Bakunin both said to workers, “it is not enough to have tiny little pieces of pie. You create all the wealth; you deserve the whole pie.”

In order to gain the whole pie, workers in crowds had to move in a mass, take over factories and run them for themselves, while confiscating the private property of the upper classes. For the upper classes, socialism and the prospects of crowds burning down their houses, and peasants taking over their land was their worst nightmare. The Paris Commune of 1871 was the first revolutionary situation that was inspired by socialism as a movement.

Stock Market instabilities

Crowd instabilities also came from the capitalist side, between 1873 to 1896 when the stock market was very unstable creating panics and depressions. [Instability—the dreaded cycle of boom and bust—is actually one of capitalism's intrinsic features. It derives from capitalism's mode of production which creates the absurdity of "overproduction in the midst of plenty."] This meant stock market traders were wheeling and dealing on the floor of the stock market at the same time that people who had money in banks were worried about their savings and, in some cases making runs on the banks.

Crowd Psychologists

Origins of Crowd Theory

Crowd theorists were social Darwinists whose ideas of a liberal society were of individuals who took care of only themselves. Beginning about 1870, crowd psychologists claimed that Darwinian evolution demonstrated that progress was a slow process, and any sudden changes based on violence were throwbacks to premodern times. Crowds were looked upon as akin to Herbert Spencer’s undifferentiated matter.

According to H. Stuart Hughes, (Consciousness and Society), beginning in the 1890s intellectuals became obsessed with the prospect that unconscious, primitive, and emotional forces were driving things. Crowd psychologists were united in rejecting sociological theorists such as Durkheim and Marx because they ignored emotions and unconscious motivation. What was really driving crowds, they thought, was below the level of consciousness. For crowd psychologists, individuals were both more than and less than the sum of their parts. The four major crowd theorists were Hippolyte Taine, Scipio Sighele, Gabriel Tarde, and Gustave Le Bon.

Crowd Theorists

Taine

Taine’s Origins of Contemporary France (written between 1876 and 1894) was a conservative attack on the Enlightenment. Taine blamed the Enlightenment ideas, including Rousseau’s, for what he considered the bloodbath of the French Revolution. Taine believed that the line between normal cognition and hallucinations, dreams and delusions, was closer than we might suspect. He cited evidence from research on organic lesions of the brain, hypnotism, and split personalities. He determined that the dramatic transformation of humans into savages is caused by what he called “the laws of mental contagion.” With the exception of the hypnosis model, Taine’s book embodies all the rudiments of French crowd psychology. For Taine, all leaders were the crazed dregs of society.

According to Taine, the Enlightenment failed to factor in the amount of time it took for humans to develop from barbarity to civility. Enlighteners weren’t interested in how people really were, but only as they could be measured by an abstract, ideal humanity. Taine thought the French Revolution was a relapse into primitive barbarism. Like Hume, Taine thought that reason was the passive servant of the passions. Bodily needs, animal instinct, prejudices which Taine thought were hereditary, were really driving people.

Criminalization of crowds (Sighele) 

Theories of hypnosis were split in two directions. Followers of Charcot claimed that being suggestible was a sign of psychopathology and only certain types of people could be hypnotized. The Nancy school of Bergheim argued that anyone could be hypnotized. The criminal school of Sighele sided with Charcot, arguing that crowds were composed of criminal individuals who were naturally suggestible. He followed the work of Lombroso who was a medical scholar of deviants in the military. Lombroso measured the skulls and anatomical characteristics of 3,000 soldiers.

According to Serge Moscovici (The Age of the Crowd), mass psychology was treated simply as part of criminal anthropology. Crowds were seen as mobs, scum, and made up of men who were out of control and would destroy anything in their path. Sighele claimed that hypnotism can explain the process by which individual minds become susceptible to outside forces, leading to actions that that are carried out automatically, unconsciously, and then spread to others by contagion. The conservative hand Sighele played was transparent in his labeling of social revolutionaries such as socialists, anarchists, or even striking workers as part of the criminal crowd. The hysteria of stock market traders was never seen as criminal.

Tarde

More than Taine or Sighele, Gabriel Tarde placed the crowd on a broader social spectrum. All social life, according to Tarde, is based on imitation, and the process of crowd formation and reproduction simply comes from the laws of imitation speeded up. He described the crowd as the first stage of association—rudimentary, fleeting, and undifferentiated. From this foundation, more stable and ongoing groups form, including corporations, political parties, and religious bodies such as churches or monasteries. Unlike other crowd psychologists, Tarde thought that literacy, newspapers, and mass communication would replace the crowd with what he called “the public.”

Tarde also thought that the extremes of behavior demonstrated in crowds are unique to cities. Unlike his right-wing crowd theorists, Tarde thought the madness of crowds is a product of civilization. He argued that crowd madness was uncommon in rural areas and among pre-state societies. Both Tarde and Le Bon supported the Nancy school, which suggested that there were social-psychological processes that anyindividual could fall prey to, if exposed to them. They believed that the solitary individual was superior to the group in all ways.

Le Bon

Le Bon concocted a mix of anthropological, social Darwinist, and psychological theories, which were in the same family as Taine and the racist Joseph Gobineau. He thought that cranial size could be used as an accurate measure of intelligence and he believed that people in primitive societies had small skulls. Le Bon thought the European race was superior, and only Caucasian males could transcend the constraints of biology.

Like Sighele and Tarde, Le Bon thought that what happens to an individual when in a crowd was analogous to what happens in hypnosis. All crowd theorists up to Le Bon agreed that the crowd was no more than what was already inside the psychology of individuals. They also believed that whatever destructive behavior transpired in a crowd was due to the lower-class origins of its members. Le Bon was the first to say that all personalities, regardless of class and intelligence, are susceptible to the pull of the crowd.

According to Serge Moscovici, Le Bon directly challenged Locke’s theory of the mind. As was par for the course in the Enlightenment, Locke believed that as the mind of humanity was gradually ridding itself of religious terrors, there would be fewer and fewer secrets. Le Bon, in contrast, said that revolutions shake the mind from its perch, sending it tumbling and howling into the abyss of the primitive world, which is driven by heredity, instinct, custom, and race. For Locke, visions and dreams were overridden by simple and complex reasoning. For Le Bon, crowds could not follow reason but instead learned by association, just as individuals do in dreams.


Strike! Chile's movement against grotesque social inequality has become semi-permanent, with social disturbances that have included enormous demonstrations and waves of strikes throughout the country. The police and military have acted with brutality, as usual, yet this has not quelled the protests or intimidated the masses. Their demands—supported by many intellectual and political leaders, including religious figures— are all perfectly rational and justified, and almost everyone in the crowds understands them completely.


Furthermore, crowd theorists claimed that people in crowds do not deliberate, but are mesmerized by leaders through the power of hypnotic suggestion. When Locke argued that the truth can be seen with open eyes, he neglected to note that crowds are driven by unconscious primitive animalism, which takes over and spreads by what Le Bon called “contagion.” This contagion does not lead to prudent, rational judgment but instead can lead to cruelty or heroism. These extreme reactions are amplified by the feeling of anonymity that grips individuals, allowing a sense of individual responsibility to evaporate.

Le Bon belonged to a liberal middle-class tradition that argued against both revolution and the weakness of liberal parliamentary systems. Despite his argument’s mediocre quality, rhetorically flattering the reader and lacking depth, Le Bon must have struck a nerve. According to Moscovici, no French thinker other than Georges Sorel and Alexander de Tocqueville has had an influence as great as Le Bon. Le Bon published The Crowd in 1890 and it was a best seller. Why was this? He mixed the disciplines of politics and psychology in an age of growing disciplinary specialization. Le Bon probably tapped into the fears that the middle and upper class and upper classes had about what would happen eventually if the new “democracy” was to expand.

Distorting the work of Alfred Espinas

It is worth noting that crowd psychologists distorted the work of Alfred Espinas on wasps and hornets to create an analogy between human crowds and insect societies. Espinas argued that societies were more than an aggregate of individuals and pointed out that alarm and danger were transmitted by visual contagion. Far from viewing this intensely social life of insects as a liability, he saw it as a strength in building bonds through cooperation.

Crowd psychologists seized on his discussion of the invisible communication of wasps and hornets when confronted with an enemy to draw an analogy to crowds. Just as insects communicate collectively when faced with danger, so crowd behavior becomes contagious among spectators in a theater or when aroused by a great orator. Unlike Espinas, they saw very little, if anything, constructive in this. Crowd psychologists thought the communicability of emotions beyond the individual was proof of the primitive mentality of the crowd.

Crowd Psychologist Distortions

Here are Susanna Barrows’ (Distorting Mirrors) damning conclusions about crowd-psychologist theories:

  • Taine, Sighele and Le Bon did not do any empirical research (Tarde was a possible exception).
  • Taine’s work contains grave errors in the scientific method. The idea of empirical investigation was wholly alien to him.
  • What evidence they collected was extremely selective to support their case (again, with the possible exception of Tarde).
  • Statistics indicate that women committed many fewer crimes than men, yet women were blamed for a disproportionate amount of the violence that occurred.
  • Le Bon indiscriminately lumped together socialists and anarchists with common criminals.
  • Crowd psychologists distorted the work of Espinas on wasps and hornets to make an analogy between human crowds and insect societies.

The Legacy of the 20th Century

The events of the 20th century hardly provided a break for poor conservatives hoping for a return to religion, God, kings and aristocrats. The Russian revolution, the stock market crash in 1929, Fascism in Germany and Italy and Spain, the Spanish revolution, the Chinese Revolution and the Cuban Revolution vanquished those hopes. This does not even count the Zoot Suit race riots in 1943, Watts in 1967 or the Rodney King riots in 1992.

Mass Media Propaganda Towards Crowds and Riots Carries Forward Obsolete Crowd Psychology

Check any newspaper or TV news program in Yankeedom and watch how the crowd and the rioters are treated when they describe a protest or a natural disaster. If it is a riot, does the paper ever show the variety of responses that go on during the riot? No, they focus only on the rioters and assume everyone in the crowd was complicit. When they describe the origin of the riot, do they consider the research which says the police are usually the perpetrators of the riot? Not on your life! The police are depicted as restoring order rather than as being the perpetrators of disorder. Lastly, in a natural disaster do the newscasters show the overwhelming instances of cooperation, compared to natural disaster participants helping themselves in supermarkets and sporting goods stores? No, they don’t. Rather the echo chamber of capitalist media blares out “looting, looting, looting” just like they declared “weapons of mass destruction” in the lead-up to the attack on Iraq twenty years ago.

Conclusion

I began this article with a questionnaire designed to expose your prejudices against crowds. I contrasted these biases against what research on mass psychology actually shows about crowd behavior. The heart of my article is to show why these biases continue in spite of scientific research to the contrary. I identified the growth of cities, the revolutions in France in the 19th century, the process of industrialization, the formation of unions, the rise of socialism and stock market instabilities in the 19thcentury. What do these events have to do with biases against crowds?

The answer can be found in the theories of mostly right-wing crowd theorists who wrote in the 2nd half of the 19thcentury. These theorists and their ruling class masters were terrified that crowds of working-class people would take their land, confiscate their resources and burn their chateaux to the ground. There was a great deal at stake for them. To call the people in crowds enraged, childish, criminal, beastly, stampeding, savage, irrational, impulsive, uncivilized, primitive, bloodthirsty, cruel and fickle is to dismiss, embarrass and mock anyone who participates. It is also a warning to future workers to stay away from crowds.

We socialists have been the victims of a 150-year propaganda campaign that was started by crowd psychologists in the 1860s and has been perpetuated by all sources of media throughout the 20th century. Amazingly, social psychologists who pride themselves on filling their textbooks with empirical evidence have given this discredited crowd theory a pass. There is so much money for research on what sells products and little or no money is available to study what moves crowds and masses. It is vitally important for the ruling classes to forestall the great day of reckoning by scaring people away from joining crowds that will be one of many vehicles for overthrowing them.

Image of Le Bon from Imgur @i.imgur.com

Bruce Lerro, a senior contributor to The Greanville Post, has taught for over 25 years as an adjunct Professor of Psychology at Golden Gate University, Dominican University and Diablo Valley College in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has applied a Vygotskian socio-historical perspective to the three books he’s written, found on Amazon. He currently co-edits a cultural-political blog,  Planning Beyond Capitalism, with Barbara Maclean.


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Peru on the Brink of Civil War?

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Peter Koenig




The Uprising of the Dispossessed



Video dateline: June 16, 2021


The left's candidate, Pedro Castillo, is claiming victory at this point, but his winning margin is extremely thin, about 44,000 ballots out of 16 MM cast. Meanwhile, Keiko Fujimori, daughter of disgraced president and autocrat Alberto Fujimori, is charging voting fraud and asking for a recount. Keiko represents Peru's bourgeois sectors, from the upper class to many in the anti-communist middle class. It is a foregone conclusion that, as the left stages victories in Bolivia and now possibly Peru, and with broad anti-establishment protests in Chile, Ecuador and recently even Colombia, easily one of the most brutally repressive countries in the world, Washington is moving its secret assets to roll back and smash this social change tide. Indeed, from a purely democratic standpoint, Keiko Fujimori's political dynasty credentials are a joke:


Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was arrested, tried, and convicted for a number of crimes related to corruption and human rights abuses that occurred during his government. Fujimori was president from 1990 to 2000. His presidency ended when he fled the country in the midst of a scandal involving corruption and human rights violations. Wanted in Peru, Fujimori maintained a self-imposed exile until his arrest while visiting Chile in November 2005.[1] He was extradited to face criminal charges in Peru in September 2007.[2]


In December 2007, Fujimori was convicted of ordering an illegal search and seizure, and was sentenced to six years in prison.[3][4][5] The Supreme Court upheld the decision upon his appeal.[6] In April 2009 Fujimori was convicted of human rights violations and sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in killings and kidnappings by the Grupo Colina death squad during his government's battle against leftist guerrillas in the 1990s.  The verdict, delivered by a three-judge panel, marked the first time that an elected head of state has been extradited to his home country, tried, and convicted of human rights violations. SOURCE: Wikipedia.

The above can mean only two things: (1) Pedro Castillo will face an uphill battle to get even the most modest reforms approved if not openly sabotaged by a Congress where half of the members are sworn to stop "a Marxist regime". International capital and its many tentacles will also stage a financial strike. And Wshington of course may swiftly impose crippling sanctions on the basis of any pretext. (The situation is clearly reminiscent of what the US and its local allies did to President Salvador Allende in the 1970s, and of what they are doing to Venezuela, Syria, etc.). (2) Keiko Fujimori and her allies are likely to have practically unlimited funds and resources, including overwhelming media support, to stage any type of political disruption conducive to "prove" that Castillo's government is not just inept but corrupt and chaotic. As geopolitical analyst Peter Koenig warns, everyone should prepare for a long and extremely hard class struggle. If this proves correct, and all the indications are that it will, Washington will soon see that much of Latin America is becoming ungovernable. 

—The Editor
—The Editor

  Peru has literally split down the middle. Left column: Pedro Castillo and his people. Right column: Fujimori's.

“Greanville Post”
On 28 July 2021, Peru, with her 33 million inhabitants, celebrates 200 years of Independence. The People of Peru may have chosen this Bicentennial celebration, to bring about a drastic change to their foreign and national oligarchy-run country. In a neck-on-neck national election run-off on 6 June 2021, the socialist Pedro Castillo, a humble primary school professor from rural Cajamarca, a Northern Peruvian Province, rich in mining resources, but also in agricultural land, seems to be winning by a razor thin margin of less than 100,000 votes against the oligarch-supported Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, currently in prison – or rather house arrest for “ill-health” – for corruption and crimes against humanity during his presidency 1990-2000.

Election results have been considered as fair by the pro-US, pro-capitalist Organization of American States (OAS). The same organization that supported the post-election US-instigated coup against Evo Morales in November 2019. Either they have learned a lesson of ethics, or there were too many international observers watching over OAS’s election observations. Or, as a third option, Washington may have yet a different agenda for this part of their “backyard”.

Keiko Fujimori, before becoming a Presidential candidate she was in prison under preventive arrest, while under investigation into corruption and human rights abuses. She is currently collecting millions from her ruling-class elite supporters and spending her own ill-begotten money to turn the election result around. Ten days after the elections, there has been no definite result published yet. For Keiko becoming President is not only a question of power, it is also a question of freedom under government immunity, or back to prison, at least until the investigation into her alleged crimes is completed.

All is possible in a country where money buys everything and may convert clearly and visibly intended cast votes either as invalid or as a vote for the opponent. This is Peru, but to be sure, election fraud happens even in the most sophisticated countries, including in Peru’s North American neighbor, who pretends to run the world.

As in Bolivia and other South American nations, the mobilised indigenous vote is becoming a decisive factor.

Looking back in history just blending in a few landmark moments. The 1989 Washington Consensus that not only “coincidentally” preceded the collapse of the Soviet Union, but more importantly perhaps for the Global South, it meant the rolling out in “warp speed” of neoliberal politics and economics, the enslavement of the Global South into poverty – many of them into extreme poverty. There was no escaping. The IMF, World Bank FED and all related so-called regional development banks played along.

Why is it that Peru is so different in how they treat their natives, the so-called indigenous people, the original landowners of their country, if you will, so different from, for example, neighboring Bolivia, Ecuador and even Colombia? And why do these discriminated “lesser” people react so differently in Peru than they do in neighboring countries?

It is my guess that it has a lot to do with the Kingdom of Spain officially creating on 18 August 1521 (500 years ago – by coincidence?) the Viceroyalty of “New Spain” in what today is Mexico and much of Central America (and in those days, the Philippines).  Peru, for its part, baptised as the Viceroyalty of Peru, became the first in the South American continent (although second for the four Viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas). Ever since Peru became the first Spanish Viceroyalty in South America, an immense and fierce continent that many geographers disputed whether to regard as a proper part of the Americas, the white descendants of Spain, the criollos, their ranks later swollen by new waves of immigrants from the “Old Continent”, had the audacity to oppress and discriminate the natives. This practice later extended to all new Ibero-American nations, whether Spanish or Portuguese in cultural origin.  In fact it is a general phenomenon observed in all lands colonised and "civilised" by Europeans. 

As of this day, this is the impression I get as a foreigner, having been partially working and living in Peru for almost the last four decades. Especially the Lima elite, they treat the indigenous as lesser people, even though they invaded and stole their territory, as all "settler entities" do, but they feel and many of them still pretend being descendants of the Royal Court of Spain. That gives them an air of superiority which is hard to ignore. It is also reflected in the still largely centralized education system, where Lima decides what the pluri- and multi-ethnicities cultural nation of Peru should be taught in uniformity.

Spanish churches were often built on top of indigenous temples and shrines, sometimes re-using stones for the new structure. A well-known example is the Church of Santo Domingo in Cusco, built atop the Inka Qorikancha (or Golden Enclosure). You can still see walls of the Qorikancha below the church.(photo: Håkan Svensson, CC BY-SA 3.0)


Education, basic infrastructure but foremost exploitation of Peru’s enormously rich natural resources is all decided by Lima, by the oligarchs, the self-styled descendant of the Spanish Royals – not in spoken words, of course, but in deeds and behavior. Lima has a population of 11 million, i.e., a third of the country’s population, of which about two thirds live at the edge of poverty or below. This situation may have become worse during Covid-times. The lack of proper and appropriately decentralized education, has left the original owners of Peru, the indigenous people, including a high proportion of ethnic mixtures, at a stark and decisive disadvantage.

https://www.google.com/search?q=peruvian+mixed+indigenous-white+population+in+percentage%3F&sxsrf=ALeKk00IpgzbpnA-9Ki5hL9pxb-uG_-ZHA%3A1623753276265&ei=PILIYL3SD42WsAeIrpygBw&oq=peruvian+mixed+indigenous-white+population+in+percentage%3F&gs_lcp=Cgdnd3Mtd2l6EAw6BwgAEEcQsAM6BAghEApQ_LoCWLaxA2CNyANoAXABeACAAVaIAZANkgECMjOYAQCgAQGqAQdnd3Mtd2l6yAEIwAEB&sclient=gws-wiz&ved=0ahUKEwi94O-puJnxAhUNC-wKHQgXB3QQ4dUDCA4

In other words, 85% of the population is ruled by a white immigrant minority. It is high time that Peru gets an indigenous president who pays attention to the real needs and interests of the majority of the Peruvian population. This time, it seems, after more than 500 hundred years of a lopsided rule, the 85% of the population will demand a government of more equilibrium. Pedro Castillo may be their man.  


Historical snapshots
Here's some history to connect the dots up to June 2021, and to help understand what is happening now in Peru. Extreme social injustice and differences between the majority peasant society and a small ruling elite, brought about the revolutionary ”Shining Path” in 1980, led by Abimael Guzmán, or by his “nom de guerre”, Chairman Gonzalo. He was a professor of philosophy strongly influenced by the teachings of Marxism and Maoism. He developed an armed struggle, what became to be known as the “Shining Path” – Spanish, “Sendero Luminoso” – for the empowerment of the neglected and disadvantaged indigenous people. Acts of terrorism abounded throughout the 1980’s, also and largely to the detriment of the peasant population.

The Shining Path emerged as the country had just held its first free elections after a 12-year military dictatorship, first by Juan Francisco Velasco Alvarado (1968 – 1975), pursuing what the Peruvians called a Maoist socialism. Velasco organized a disastrous totally unprepared land reform, and nationalized most foreign investments, creating massive unemployment and perpetuating poverty. Towards the mid-1970s, Velasco was very sick with cancer and appointed on 29 August 1975 his Prime Minister, Francisco Morales Bermúdez, as his successor. Bermúdez began the second phase of the Peruvian armed Revolution, promising a transit to a civilian government.

However, Bermudez soon became an extreme right-wing military dictator, pursuing a policy of leftist cleansing. He kept his promise, though, and led Peru to democratic elections in 1980, when Fernando Belaúnde Terry was elected, the very Belaúnde, who was deposed as president in the 1968 Velasco military coup.

The South American US-supported military dictatorships, prompted the creation of the Shining Path in Peru, loosely following the objectives of the Uruguayan Tupamaro guerilla organization, named for Túpac Amaru II, the indigenous leader of an 18th-century revolt against Spanish rule in Peru.

The Shining Path was open and transparent about its willingness to inflict death and the most extreme forms of cruelty as tools to achieve its goal, the total annihilation of existing political structures.

Guzman was caught in 1992 and convicted to life imprisonment.  


In 1990, Alberto Fujimori, a little-known Rector of and professor at the Agrarian State University of Lima, with the support of Washington, became President, defeating Nobel Prize-winner [and hidebound reactionary] adversary Mario Vargas Llosa, in a landslide victory of 62.4% against 37.6%. Fujimori imposed neoliberalism in Peru from the get-go of his presidency in 1990. He followed closely the mandates of the IMF and the World Bank. His other main objective was to finish off the Shining Path.

Other than stopping terrorism for humanitarian reasons, there were a myriad of commercial and economic interests at stake. For example, the entire mining industry was largely in control of foreign corporations. As soon as elected, Fujimori was “given” a top CIA "advisor“, Vladimiro Lenin Ilich Montesinos. (Yes, you can't make this up.) The CIA agent soon called the shots for all affairs of international importance. There was little left for Fujimori to decide, let alone for the Peruvian Parliament.

In 1992 Fujimori instigated an auto-coup, with Washington’s tacit consent, dissolving Parliament and becoming the sole ruler, who also changed the Constitution allowing him to be “reelected” for another 5 years, until 2000, when he fled the country returning to his “native” Japan. Many analysts say he was actually born in Japan and was lying having been born in Peru, so he could ascend to the presidency. Just for the record, his registered birthday 28 July – Peru’s Independent Day – is kind of suspicious. Fujimori was accused of corruption, abuse of power and human rights violations.

During a visit to Chile in 2005, Fujimori was arrested and eventually extradited to Peru where he was convicted in 2009 to 25 years in prison for corruption, human right abuses and for his role in killings and kidnappings by the Grupo Colina Death Squad during his government's battle against the Senderos Luminoso in the 1990s. 

During the two decades of Shining Path, some 69,000 people, mostly Peruvian peasants died or disappeared. According to the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (PTRC), eventually, as many people died at the hands of the Fujimori military commandos, as were killed by the Shining Path. The PTRC is also called Hatun Willakuy, a Quechuan expression meaning the great story, signifying the enormity of the events recounted. Before the commission, Peru had never conducted such a comprehensive examination of violence, abuse of power, or injustice. See this https://www.ictj.org/sites/default/files/subsites/peru-hatun-willakuy-en/ 

To this day father Fujimori is in prison – or under house arrest for his alleged ill-health – while his daughter Keiko Fujimori was largely running Congress with a majority of her Party “Popular Force” – Fuerza Popular. It is not an exaggeration to claim that during the past three decades Fujimorismo and the APRA (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance – a left-turned-right party) largely ran the country via crime and corruption, selling off the country’s riches to international corporatism, mainly in the US – and for the benefit of Peruvian oligarchs, but leaving the large majority of Peruvians behind.


Peru has a wealth of mineral resources. Copper, iron, lead, zinc, bismuth, phosphates, and manganese exist in great quantities of high-yield ores. Gold and silver are found extensively, as are other rare metals, and petroleum fields are located along the far north coast and the northeastern part of Amazonia.

Peru’s GDP of US$ 270 billion (World Bank - 2019) is misleading, as a great proportion is generated by mostly foreign majority holding extractive industries, manufacturing and ever-increasingly also agriculture, leaving little in the country which is why the poverty level has hardly changed over the last 30 years. While in the first decade of 2000 Peru had a phenomenal GDP growth, between 5% and 7% annually – about two thirds went to 20% of the population and the rest was trickling down to the other 80%, with the bottom 10% to 20% getting next to nothing.

The poverty rate after covid encompasses at least two thirds of the Peruvian population, with up to 50% under extreme poverty. Exact figures are not available. Those listed by the World Bank indicating a 27% poverty rate are simply fake. In addition, the informal sector in Peru amounts to at least 70%. While it is informality that keeps Peru somewhat going, it is also the informal sector that has plunged masses of people into poverty.
--
Candidate Pedro Castillo, if finally declared the winner, has a challenging job ahead. He is aligned with a seasoned and well-experienced and nationally respected politician, socialist Veronica Mendoza from Cusco. She also identified the current economic advisor for Mr. Castillo, Pedro Francke, who has a center-left reputation.

Mr. Francke served as director of the Cooperation Fund for Social Development (FONCODES), a Peruvian government -controlled social services and small investments institution, promoting small and medium size enterprises and creating jobs. He also had several roles at the Peruvian Central Bank and worked as an economist at the World Bank.

In a political statement, Francke separated a potential Castillo presidency from what he called Chavez socialism of currency control, nationalizations and price controls. In fact, this is an easy and purely partisan statement, because the two economies are so fundamentally different that there is simply no comparison. But the intent is to tranquilize a worried and right-wing media indoctrinated populace. The right-wing, mostly El Comercio and affiliated media dominated news outlets, control about 90% of Peruvian media.

Mr. Francke told Reuters, "Our idea is not to have massive interventionism in the economy", indicating that Castillo would respect the market economy. Francke also said that a Castillo Government would not proceed with nationalization and expropriation at all. They may, however, renegotiate some of the corporate profit-sharing. Having experienced the Velasco Government in the 1970s, this is one of the major worries of more senior Peruvians, who lived through the Velasco years.

Pedro Francke also repeated what Castillo said in his campaign speeches, that he would encourage local over foreign investments, a valid assertion, because at present the Peruvian economy is about 70% dollarized, meaning that local banks finance themselves largely by Wall Street, while locally earned money is invested abroad rather than at home. Hopefully, Castillo will be able to muster the necessary trust to bring about local investments with local money. If so, this would be among the healthiest economic moves for Peru – moves towards fiscal autonomy and monetary sovereignty.   


At the time of this writing, 10 days after the ballot, the vote recounts and quarrels over voter fraud are growing, creating a chaotic atmosphere, one that is becoming increasingly volatile. We can just hope that the Peruvian Election Commission will apply fair rules and will be able to avoid civil unrest.

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.


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Our main image motif: Painted by famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, Glorious Victory is a critical and condemnatory view of the 1954 CIA coup of Guatemala’s democratically elected president Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán. The United States removed Árbenz from power and replaced him with a dictatorial military commander because Árbenz threatened the landholdings of the United Fruit Company with his agrarian reform laws.


Up to You.

^3000US citizens have no real political representation.

We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.

I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.

What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.

And its multitude of minions and lackeys.


The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of The Greanville Post



All image captions, pull quotes, appendices, etc. by the editors not the authors. 
YOU ARE FREE TO REPRODUCE THIS ARTICLE PROVIDED YOU GIVE PROPER CREDIT TO THE GREANVILLE POST
VIA A BACK LIVE LINK. 
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Space Oddities

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.



By Bernhard, editor of Moon of Alabama


Musk, Bezos and Branson: three starry-eyed billionaires in search of adventure.

Jeff Bezos is going to space, says a CNN report:

Jeff Bezos will be flying to space on the first crewed flight of the New Shepard, the rocket ship made by his space company, Blue Origin. The flight is scheduled for July 20th, just 15 days after he is set to resign as CEO of Amazon.

Blue Origin said Bezos' younger brother, Mark Bezos, will also join the flight.
...
If all goes according to plan, Bezos — the world's richest person with a net worth of $187 billion — will be the first of the billionaire space tycoons to experience a ride aboard the rocket technology that he's poured millions into developing. Not even Elon Musk, whose SpaceX builds rockets powerful enough to enter orbit around Earth, has announced plans to travel to space aboard one of his companies human-worthy crew capsules.

The world's richest person will of course not pay for the trip.

Blue Origin as well as its competitor SpaceX are part of NASA's commercial crew and human landing system (HLS) programs which subsidize and support the development of various space flight and moon landing systems.

This was supposed to lead to the development of several commercial space services from which NASA can then select one for each of its missions. But when Blue Origin lost out in a recent bid to actually build the human landing system the company immediately launched a protest:

Blue Origin says in the GAO protest that its “National Team,” which included Draper, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, bid $5.99 billion for the HLS award, slightly more than double SpaceX’s bid. However, it argues that it was not given the opportunity to revise that bid when NASA concluded that the funding available would not allow it to select two bidders, as originally anticipated. NASA requested $3.3 billion for HLS in its fiscal year 2021 budget proposal but received only $850 million in an omnibus appropriations bill passed in December 2020.

Having failed to bilk the government out of several more billions Bezos called on his lobbyists:

In recent years, Blue Origin also has given its operation in the nation’s capital more muscle. It spent nearly $2 million in lobbying last year, up from a little more than $400,000 in 2015, according to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks spending. The company’s political action committee has amped up its donations as well, spending $320,000 in 2020, up from $22,000 in 2016.

A few envelopes changed hands and achieved the desired result:

Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell—from Amazon’s home state of Washington—tacked on $10 billion for NASA into the Endless Frontier Act, a bill that allocates funding to conduct research in technological innovation and space exploration. Presumably, Blue Origin will get a chunk of this, since Cantwell’s amendment specifically states that NASA will subsidize “design, development, testing, and evaluation for not fewer than 2 entities” for the Human Landing System Program. (Both Blue Origin and Dynetics had competed for the contract.)

That led to to a pissing contest with Elon Musk's SpaceX:

In a flier, SpaceX said the Cantwell amendment “undermines the federal government procurement process, rewards Jeff Bezos with a $10 billion sole-source hand-out, and will throw NASA’s Artemis program into years of litigation.” It adds that Blue Origin “has not produced a single rocket or spacecraft capable of reaching orbit.”
...
Blue Origin came back with its own flier subtitled “What is Elon Musk afraid of...a little competition?” with itemized “lies” in SpaceX’s flier. Its bottom line: “Elon Musk repeatedly talks about the value of competition, but when it comes to NASA’s Human Landing System (HLS) program, he wants it all to himself.”

That Bezos is suddenly lauding the merit of competition, after having lost a bid with a way too high price, is more than a bit hypocritical:

Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine announced Tuesday he's suing Amazon on antitrust grounds, alleging the company's practices have unfairly raised prices for consumers and suppressed innovation.

billions in subsidies and does not pay taxes.

Bezos, Musk and other billionaires are errors in our economic-political systems. They should be eliminated.

I am fine with subsidizing Bezos' or Musk's flights to space.

But don't make it round-trip tickets. 

Posted by b at 17:15 UTC


 


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Richard D. Wolff: Crisis – It’s How Capitalism Works

Please make sure these dispatches reach as many readers as possible. Share with kin, friends and workmates and ask them to do likewise.



Chronic Capitalist Crisis Explained
by Prof. Richard Wolff




Capitalism is fragile. It is not a secure and solid system. And capitalists know this. They just don't let their media or politicians acknowledge it."

The lack of stability of the capitalist system and its recurring crises are both inevitable and hard-wired in its core dynamic and social relations, argues Prof. Wolff in this comprehensive and at times semi-satirical chat. 

Richard D. Wolff: Crisis – It’s How Capitalism Works
Richard Wolff's talk is a splendid introduction and thorough explanation for the way capitalism operates in the real world, and why immensely costly crises with massive social disruption and suffering cannot be avoided under its regimen.

The anarchy of production and capitalism's "iron laws", starting with its relentless drive for bigger profits at any cost, doom it to failure.

I have a point of divergence with Wolff. The power and eloquence of his presentations, and his didactic qualities are evident. But two things bear mention in connection with this specific chat. One, his explanation for the implosion of the Soviet Union is somewhat prejudicial to the actuality of the Soviet experiment and enormous acomplishments. The phrasing used by Wolff in that riff is a bit too close to that of standard anti-communist intellectuals, of which the world has seen more than its justifiable share. The Soviet Union failed because it needed change from within—toward more socialism—but did not develop the mechanism in time, keeping the system largely closed. Its leadership became fossilised and bureaucratised. Cynicism began to invade much of the top tiers of that society, and the siren song of capitalist "freeedom" and consumerism obviously seduced many of the ironically more privileged sectors—beginning with its youth and intellectuals. These sectors—including leaders like Gorbachev himself—had been heavily influenced and gradually absorbed by the Western synthetic left. But many of the people who embraced glasnost and perestroika saw it as means to revitalise the march to communism, not to dismantle it in favor of capitalism. Second, his talk about the confusion plaguing political labels in general in the US, and the left in particular is a correct observation, as far as it goes, but his effort to separate himself from communists is evocative of the kind of talk we frequently heard on the lips of Michael Harrington, or Norman Thomas, two anti-communist socialists the system used for decades, in fact to this day, as the kind of tame socialism people should look to for solutions. Wolff is a Marxist, but he sounds at times like a social democrat, or a pre-Comintern socialist wishing to keep his skirts white and starched while communists are walked down the plank at sword point. That said, I sure hope that I am proven wrong about this because Richard Wolff is an invaluable asset in the struggle for a noncapitalist future. 
—The Editor
—The Editor

Oct 22, 2016


Up to You.

^3000US citizens have no real political representation.

We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.

I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.

What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.

And its multitude of minions and lackeys.


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