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The ‘Worker President’ and the Banker Regime
Brazil under Lula Da Silva 2003-2010
Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff CC BY 3.0 br
Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff CC BY 3.0 br
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Introduction: Leftwing academics, writers and journalists have written tendentious articles where they manage to transform reactionary political leaders into working class heroes and present their dreadful policies as progressive advances. Recently, leftist pundits throughout US and Latin America have plagued the reading public with gross distortions of historical events contributing, in their own way, to the demise of the left and the rise of the right.

The leading international figures in this deceptive leftwing punditry include the famous Noam Chomsky, once eulogized by the New York Times (NYT) as ‘America’s most important public intellectual’. Such effusion is not surprising: Professor Chomsky and the NYT both supported the presidential candidacy of the warmongering Hillary Clinton, the perpetrator of seven wars that uprooted 20 million people from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, sub-Sahara Africa (Is this any different from Stalin in the ’30’s?) and author/supporter of numerous coups and attempted ‘regime changes’ in Brazil, Honduras, Venezuela, Paraguay and Ukraine.

The same MIT intellectual turned his prestige-laden ire on the authors of the definitive critique of the pro-Israel lobby (The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (2007)) and slandered the most effective activist group against Israeli colonial land grabbers – the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). So much for America’s most ‘prominent intellectual’ – a crypto-warmonger, who not only supported the candidacy of the blood-gorged war goddess Clinton, but has become a leader of the post-election propaganda and ‘regime change’ campaign to overthrow the buffoonish President-Elect Donald Trump. Chomsky’s wild, hysterical diatribe against Trump claimed nothing less than the world now faced the gravest danger in all its history with the election of the real estate-casino King Donald. Noam deftly papered over his defeated candidate Hillary’s vow to unleash possible nuclear war by shooting down Russian planes over Syria – in opposition to Trump’s reasoned proposal to work with Putin in ending the brutal war in Syria.

There are different versions of the ‘leftist’-imperial-collaborator apologist Chomsky throughout Latin America. One is Emir Sader.

Emir Sader, professor of Political Science at the University of Rio de Janeiro and author of the book celebrating the first ‘workers’ President of Brazil, Lula DaSilva (Without Fear of Being Happy: Lula, The Workers Party and Brazil (1991)) is a frequent contributor to the leading ‘progressive’ daily newspapers throughout Latin America, including La Jornada of Mexico, as well as the influential bi-monthly The New Left Review in Great Britain.

Needless to say, Sader never cited any inconvenient facts when praising the leadership of Lula Da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s last two elected presidents from the Workers Party. For example, Sader omitted the fact that President Da Silva implemented an IMF-mandated austerity program upon taking office. He tiptoed around the Wall Street Bankers’ awarding Lula a “Man of the Year” prize. Professor Sader forgot to cite the abrupt drop in farmland expropriations (guaranteed under Brazil’s Constitution) for rural landless workers movement (MST) – leaving hundreds of thousands of landless peasant families under thin plastic tents. His ‘Worker President’ Lula appointed neo-liberal economists and central bank directors to his cabinet. Lula supported the interests of big agro-business, big oil and big mining oligarchs who slashed and burned the Amazon rain forest murdering indigenous leaders, peasants and ecologists who resisted the devastation and displacement.

Sader lauded, as ‘generous’, the monthly ‘food baskets’, equivalent to $60 dollars, which the local Workers Party operative passed out to about 30 million destitute families to create a rural client-base. Sader and his string of leftist followers in North and South America, England and France never attacked the high level bribery, fraud and corruption linking Workers Party leaders to construction multi-nationals and Petrobras, the state oil company and billions of state contracts.

Sader and his international acolytes celebrated Brazil’s ascent to world power as a member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) with Lula as a leader in bringing the poor into the ‘middle class’. He never stopped to analyze how Lula managed to balance the interests of the IMF, Wall Street, agro-business, bankers while enticing a huge voting majority among the poor and workers.

Lula’s ‘miracle’ was a temporary mirage, its reality evident to only a few critics who pointed to the reliance on a prolong commodity export boom. The business elites backed Lula because of state subsidies and tax incentives. Hundreds of rightwing Congress people and cabinet members jumped on the Workers Party bandwagon to enjoy the payola payoffs from contractors. But by the end of Lula’s eight year term, exports of primary commodities to China sharply declined, commodity prices collapsed and the business elites and bankers turned their backs on the ‘Worker President’ as they looked for a new regime to rescue them by sacrificing the poor.

The rest of the story is well known: Former PT allies launched corruption investigations to pull down the PT government. Twice-elected President Dilma Rouseff was impeached in a bizarre legislative coup, orchestrated by a corrupt PT ally from a rightwing party, Congressional head Eduardo Cunhal; Rouseff’s corrupt Vice President Temer took over and Lula was indicted for corruption by rightwing prosecutors appointed by the PT. The House of Cards in Brasilia became a grotesque comic opera with all the major players waltzing in and out of jail (except the impeached Rouseff).

But Professor Sader did not looked back in contemplation, let alone class analysis, at the 13 years of Worker Party power in coalition with the worst of Brazil’s crooks. Instead, he bellowed that Lula’s former allies, the corrupt politicians from the rightwing parties, had unjustly ousted the PT. These ‘traitors’ were the same politicians that Professor Sader embraced as ’strategic allies’ from 2003 to 2014. Any serious observer could understand why Lula’s was first embraced and then divorced by the financial elite – for its own class interest.

Lula and Dilma’s ‘Three-Cornered Ménage’ with Bankers

ORDER IT NOW

Contrary to Sader’s PT propaganda and the predictably ill-informed kudos of Chomsky, et al, the Workers Party policies benefited the banks and the agro-business elites above all others, to the detriment of the popular movements and the Brazilian people. Brazilian investment bank revenues rose from $200 million dollars in 2004 to $1.6 billion dollars in 2007 and remained close to the peak until the commodity crash reduced bank revenues drastically. Likewise, the financial speculators and corporate monopolies took part in the capitalist bonanza under Presidents Lula and Dilma. Merger and acquisitions (M & A’s) rose from $40 billion in 2007 to $140 billion in 2010 but then sharply declined with the drop in world commodity prices down to $25 billion in 2015. The banks made billions of dollars in management fees for arranging the M&A’s over the eight-year period (2007-2015).

The Fall of Banking Revenues and the Rise of Corporate Activists

If we examine Brazilian merger and acquisitions activity and investment bank revenues, one sees a close correlation with the rise and fall of the PT regime. In other words, when the bankers, speculators and monopolists flourished under the PT policies, they supported the government of Lula and Dilma. When the export agro-mining commodity boom collapsed, slashing profits, management fees and interest, the financial sector immediately mobilized their rightwing allies in congress, allied prosecutors and judges and successfully pushed for Dilma’s impeachment, Lula’s indictment, the arrest of former PT allies and the appointment of Vice President Temer to the Presidency.

With the recession fully underway, the business and banking elite demanded large-scale, long-term cuts in public expenditures, slashing budgets for the poor, education, health, housing and pensions, severe wage reduction and a sharp limit on consumer credit. At the same time they pushed through the privatization of the multi-billion dollar petroleum industry (Petrobras) and related state industries, as well as public ports, airlines and airfields, highways and whatever else among Brazil’s public jewels could compensate for their drop in investment bank revenues and management fees for M&As.

For the finance sector, Lula and Dilma’s main crime lay in their reluctance to impose the brutal ‘new austerity policies’ fast enough or totally privatize public enterprises, reverse subsidies to the destitute, freeze wages and slash social budgets for the next two decades.

As soon as the economic elite successfully ousted President Dilma Rousseff through a legislative ‘coup’, their newly enthroned (Vice) President Michel Temer rose to the task: He immediately announced the privatization of Petrobras and froze health and educational budget for the next twenty years. Instead of recognizing the true nature of the ruling class interests behind the coup against Dilma and the arrest of Lula, the PT party hacks and writers denounced political ‘plotters’ and “traitors” and imperialist agents . . . puppets who were only following orders from the banking and export elite.

After the fall of Dilma and faced with resounding defeats in the 2016 municipal elections wiping out almost all of the PT big city mayors and city officials, Lula finally called for a ‘Left Front’ – fifteen years after having pursued an allied bankers’ . . . front!

Reflections on a Debacle

What stands out is how pro-PT intellectuals and writers have failed to understand that the party’s vulnerability, opportunism and corruption were present early on and reflected the class composition, policy decisions and lack of ethical principles among the PT leadership. Wide-eyed and seduced at their warm reception at PT functions and international conferences, the ill-informed US, Canadian and European intellectuals understood nothing about the real structural and strategic flaws within the party and instead published hundreds of shallow ‘puff pieces’ about Lula’s poverty reduction, minimum wage increases, and consumer credit – ignoring the real nature of class power in Brazil.

Apparently, they threw out two centuries of even the most basic grammar school level history lessons describing the cyclical boom and bust nature of commodity export economies. They ignored a half-century of left-right ‘populist front’ governments, which collapsed into coups once bourgeois support was withdrawn – and instead whined about ‘betrayals’ – as if the elite were capable of anything else.

The fundamental problem was not the stratospheric intellectual pronouncements – the key was the economic and political strategies and policies under Lula and Dilma

The PT Presidents failed to diversify the economy, institute an industrial program, impose content regulations on foreign producers, nationalize the banks and monopolies, prosecute corrupt political officials (including PT leaders) and stop the practice of funding political campaigns through kick-back rewards for rotten deals with construction contractor-cronies.

Once in power, the PT ran expensive campaigns with heavy mass media saturation, while rejecting their own twenty years of effective class struggle that had built the political party with a strong working class cadre.

By the time it was elected to the presidency, the PT membership had shifted dramatically – from workers to middle class professionals. By 2002, 70% of active party members were professionals. They formed the leadership base running for office, designed the new strategies and forged new allies.

The PT discarded its popular class allies in order to gain short-term capitalist alliances based on the export commodity boom economy. During the height of the ‘boom’ they managed to satisfy the bankers and stockbrokers, while providing some subsidies to workers and the poor. When the budgets and the boom economy crashed, the business allies turned against the PT. Meanwhile, the PT had also lost its mass base, which was experiencing double-digit unemployment. The once reliable PT voters knew that, while they suffered, some of their ‘Workers Party’ leaders had become millionaires through corruption and were living in ’soap-opera’-style luxury. They could imagine them consulting their gold Rolex watches so not to miss an appointment with the corrupt contractors…

Lacking critical and knowledgeable advisers, depending on allies and ministers from the capitalist elite, abandoning the politics of class struggle, and failing to implement any national industrial strategy – including the most basic processing of Brazil’s agro-mineral products, the Left disintegrated losing Latin America’s historic best opportunity to build a workers’ and peasant government from below.

ORDER IT NOW

The fiasco of left intellectuals and politicos is not confined to the case of Brazil. The same capitulation to the hard-right keeps happening: In the US, France, England, Greece and Portugal, there were the Bernie Sanders, Noam Chomskys and a small army of left journalists and identity activists rushing to support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton–the most bellicose imperial politician in recent memory. Despite her record of supporting or launching seven wars, creating twenty-million refugees and over one million deaths, despite her reckless advocacy of nuclear war with Russia over Syria, the self-declared ‘anti-fascists’ joined hands to support a recidivist catastrophe-candidate, whose only real success would be her million-dollar speeches before the financial elite and speculators! But then again, the famously furious Greek Left voted for Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras who then imposed history’s worst peacetime austerity program on the people of Greece. It must console Lula and Dilma to know they have plenty of company among the left politicians who speak to the workers and work for the bankers.

(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: Brazil, Neoliberalism 
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  1. Chomsky is about as “left” as Joseph Schumpeter.

    You may be wrong about the Greeks, however. Tsipras and Varoufakis may be playing good cop bad cop with the financial pirates.

    This buys time but also control of the state apparatus, a vote in NATO, etc. in the meanwhile. On verra. Greeks are a cunning lot.

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  2. Just glossed over it, but I am quite sure I will love this article. My only note, for the time being, is that, as is becoming increasingly usual, the one “celebrity” intellectual to stand out as a lucid, courageous man (apart from Mr. Petras, whom anyway I am not sure it would be nice to call a “celebrity”), is Slavoj Zizek, who firmly rejected Hillary, and even said would vote for Trump if he were an American.

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    • Replies: @Brás Cubas
    Just read this piece, and it is every bit as superb and on the mark as I intuited. Just one tiny mistake: Eduardo Cunha was surely not the orchestrator of the coup that overthrew Dilma Rousseff. He was no doubt an accessory, but the real orchestrators were probably the then vice-president (and currently president) Michel Temer and some close allies of his.
  3. @Brás Cubas
    Just glossed over it, but I am quite sure I will love this article. My only note, for the time being, is that, as is becoming increasingly usual, the one "celebrity" intellectual to stand out as a lucid, courageous man (apart from Mr. Petras, whom anyway I am not sure it would be nice to call a "celebrity"), is Slavoj Zizek, who firmly rejected Hillary, and even said would vote for Trump if he were an American.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4vHSiotAFA

    Just read this piece, and it is every bit as superb and on the mark as I intuited. Just one tiny mistake: Eduardo Cunha was surely not the orchestrator of the coup that overthrew Dilma Rousseff. He was no doubt an accessory, but the real orchestrators were probably the then vice-president (and currently president) Michel Temer and some close allies of his.

    Read More
  4. Petras nails it. The second, third and last paragraphs alone make this article great reading. A highlight: “Professor Chomsky and the NYT both supported the presidential candidacy of the warmongering Hillary Clinton, the perpetrator of seven wars that uprooted 20 million people from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, sub-Sahara Africa (Is this any different from Stalin in the ’30’s?) and author/supporter of numerous coups and attempted ‘regime changes’ in Brazil, Honduras, Venezuela, Paraguay and Ukraine.” Chomsky!!!! What a creep.

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    • Replies: @Franks Batts
    no one is perfect including Chomsky but Petraus badly misrepresents Chomsky's record as Chomsky fully suppers Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and BDS. A man of letters, as Petraus's position leads us to believe, should be very diligent in "getting it right" as not doing so calls into question his intellectual integrity.
  5. The Brazilians, as was the practice in Latin America, pretty much copied the American constitution when forming the republic, and their system works pretty much the same way. The media and the public treat the president like an elected monarch. At least in Brazil the prez is actually directly by popular vote (when the elites allow elections and allow the results to stand, which is obviously not all the time). But actually the president is only as powerful as the Congress lets him be, a two thirds majority in both house can do whatever they want. With establishment presidents, Congress will give them alot of leeway and focus on pork. Things really work the same way in the USA, as we are about to find out.

    The Workers Party made a strategic error in focusing on the presidency and not prioritizing building up their strength on Congress and in state governments. But this is common in presidential systems, the Democrats made the same error here. But low information voters only care about who the president is (and there are tons of low information voters in Brazil), they had to run someone in the presidential elections anyway, and Lula was their best asset.

    When Lula run, he and Rousseff tried to strike a deal with the Brazilian establishment where they would pretty much do what the establishment wanted, in return for being allowed to hold office and getting some anti-poverty programs through. As stated earlier, I don’t think the presidency is worth taking on these terms. But where I disagree with Petras, is that these were the only terms available. I don’t blame Lula for trying to make a deal.

    Again, the same dynamic exists in the US, for example LBJ delivered the Vietnam War to the establishment in return for getting the Great Society through. Trump is trying to do something similar right now. And I think this is fine if the establishment is willing to negotiate in good faith. The alternative is trying to pull off a violent insurgency.

    If you read some of the old left-wing literature from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, you will see a big split between people willing to work within the system and make deals or enter governments with the “bourgeois” parties, and people who wanted to remain in opposition until they could get everything, or refuse to contest elections entirely. The problem with the second approach is that you need something like the Red Army to camp out in your country permanently to make it work.

    Now in Brazil, what ultimately happened is that the establishment was not willing to hold to their part of the bargain. If they rig the 2018 elections, which they almost certainly will, and start jailing and murdering activists on the left, insurgency and civil war will follow. The establishment will have proven that working within the system for change is impossible.

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    • Replies: @E. A. Costa
    "The Workers Party made a strategic error in focusing on the presidency and not prioritizing building up their strength on Congress and in state governments. But this is common in presidential systems,"

    True enough so far as it goes, but the deeper mistake, and continually made by naive leftists, given the historical context of regimes like Brazil, Argentina, and so forth, is not concentrating on the army.

    As an military man, Chávez saw that of course and Venezuela is not making that mistake. Some think designating Maduro as successor was a mistake, but Chávez' reasoning was complex and is being validated. In the background, the damidos know there is a thoroughly Bolivarianized armed forces committed to never returning to the past exploitation.

    The damidos also never admit it, but Chávez treated them with velvet gloves, as long as they served some constructive purpose in the new Venezuela.

    They were off the dole, of course, and the intense corruption of the old regime, including financing by US corporations, but they could still make a living in some strictly techno areas and were allowed all the cynicism they could wish for in their enclaves and country clubs.

    At the point in which they show beyond a shadow of a doubt they will never accept the new Venezuela and will resort to force, they will be considered expendable by Chávez' successors.

    They got the name damidos in Miami by the way, where under the old regime they would go and buy two of everything--Mercedes, yachts, rolexes--the usual status trash.

    Give them enough rope and they may engineer their own exile there soon enough, joining some very monotonous and long in tooth Cubans.

  6. Funny article. I love it when commies fight amongst themselves. Now if they’d only kill each other too, we’d all be so much better off.

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  7. Remember when the Gnome went to bat for Pol Pot? Remember?

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    • Replies: @Bill
    Indeed. He does not seem to be so much right wing or left wing as Satanic.
  8. @eD
    The Brazilians, as was the practice in Latin America, pretty much copied the American constitution when forming the republic, and their system works pretty much the same way. The media and the public treat the president like an elected monarch. At least in Brazil the prez is actually directly by popular vote (when the elites allow elections and allow the results to stand, which is obviously not all the time). But actually the president is only as powerful as the Congress lets him be, a two thirds majority in both house can do whatever they want. With establishment presidents, Congress will give them alot of leeway and focus on pork. Things really work the same way in the USA, as we are about to find out.

    The Workers Party made a strategic error in focusing on the presidency and not prioritizing building up their strength on Congress and in state governments. But this is common in presidential systems, the Democrats made the same error here. But low information voters only care about who the president is (and there are tons of low information voters in Brazil), they had to run someone in the presidential elections anyway, and Lula was their best asset.

    When Lula run, he and Rousseff tried to strike a deal with the Brazilian establishment where they would pretty much do what the establishment wanted, in return for being allowed to hold office and getting some anti-poverty programs through. As stated earlier, I don't think the presidency is worth taking on these terms. But where I disagree with Petras, is that these were the only terms available. I don't blame Lula for trying to make a deal.

    Again, the same dynamic exists in the US, for example LBJ delivered the Vietnam War to the establishment in return for getting the Great Society through. Trump is trying to do something similar right now. And I think this is fine if the establishment is willing to negotiate in good faith. The alternative is trying to pull off a violent insurgency.

    If you read some of the old left-wing literature from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, you will see a big split between people willing to work within the system and make deals or enter governments with the "bourgeois" parties, and people who wanted to remain in opposition until they could get everything, or refuse to contest elections entirely. The problem with the second approach is that you need something like the Red Army to camp out in your country permanently to make it work.

    Now in Brazil, what ultimately happened is that the establishment was not willing to hold to their part of the bargain. If they rig the 2018 elections, which they almost certainly will, and start jailing and murdering activists on the left, insurgency and civil war will follow. The establishment will have proven that working within the system for change is impossible.

    “The Workers Party made a strategic error in focusing on the presidency and not prioritizing building up their strength on Congress and in state governments. But this is common in presidential systems,”

    True enough so far as it goes, but the deeper mistake, and continually made by naive leftists, given the historical context of regimes like Brazil, Argentina, and so forth, is not concentrating on the army.

    As an military man, Chávez saw that of course and Venezuela is not making that mistake. Some think designating Maduro as successor was a mistake, but Chávez’ reasoning was complex and is being validated. In the background, the damidos know there is a thoroughly Bolivarianized armed forces committed to never returning to the past exploitation.

    The damidos also never admit it, but Chávez treated them with velvet gloves, as long as they served some constructive purpose in the new Venezuela.

    They were off the dole, of course, and the intense corruption of the old regime, including financing by US corporations, but they could still make a living in some strictly techno areas and were allowed all the cynicism they could wish for in their enclaves and country clubs.

    At the point in which they show beyond a shadow of a doubt they will never accept the new Venezuela and will resort to force, they will be considered expendable by Chávez’ successors.

    They got the name damidos in Miami by the way, where under the old regime they would go and buy two of everything–Mercedes, yachts, rolexes–the usual status trash.

    Give them enough rope and they may engineer their own exile there soon enough, joining some very monotonous and long in tooth Cubans.

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  9. Damedos–pardon. Somewhere near sleep spelling becomes inchoate and even m’s disappear as in dammi due, jeje.

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  10. E.A. Costa, thanks for the response. The army, which intervened to support the oligarchs in 1889 and 1964, and intervened against the oligarchs in the 1930s, is the classic “dog that did not bark” in the current crisis in Brazil.

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  11. For years I have compared Chomsky’s phony activism with the intellectual integrity of James Petras. The much ballyhooed intellectual Chomsky, while not short on intelligence, is a master of lying by omission. This is how he portrays himself as a champion of human rights by exposing US imperialist policies in Haiti and British imperialist legacy in Bengladesh but utterly fails to expose the Israel Lobby’s role in stoking the fire of the Iraq war, blaming it instead on the Petroleum lobby. Also, Chomsky’s support for the 9/11 official story makes one wonder how a man of such intelligence can accept such blatant misinformation.
    As for the commenters who are chastising Mr. Petras for his left leaning ideology, I would respond that integrity and lucidity in thought contribute far more to building a better society and a better world than any ideology be it on the left or on the right side of the political spectrum.
    This article should be an eye opener to any wishful thinkers who have high expectations from a Trump presidency. We sure can credit Trump with keeping the ghoul Hillary outside the corridors of power. However, we can already sense that Trump is already cajoling the elite and the deep state in a way that will make all his pre election promises a mirage.
    Real change through the ballot box in the western world is just an illusion. Without blood we can only dream of change.

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    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    Without blood we can only dream of change.
     
    Even with blood any real change would be swiftly co-opted by the usual ( moneybag) suspects.

    It's pretty obvious that casinos are built to fleece fools, yet the usual suckers embrace a casino owner (and it's buddy, another casino mogul) as a Messiah. Sigh...

    This is not going to turn out too purdy!
    , @annamaria
    "As for the commenters who are chastising Mr. Petras for his left leaning ideology, I would respond that integrity and lucidity in thought contribute far more to building a better society and a better world than any ideology be it on the left or on the right side of the political spectrum."

    Thank you. Mr. Petras' forte is indeed the intellectual integrity and courage.

  12. I have always contrasted Chimsky’s phony activism to Professor Petras’ s intellectual integrity. While Chomsky is not lacking in intelligence, he is a master of lying by omission. Chomsky’s exposure of American imperialism in Haiti and Great Britain’s dismal legacy in Bengladesh in his book ‘ Hopes and Prospects’ is quite commendable. However, his absolving of the Israel lobby from any responsibility in stoking the fire of the Iraq war and blaming it on the Petroleum lobby, as well as his unqualified acceptance of the American government’s version of 9/11, casts a shadow on his legacy as a free thinker.
    As for those commentators who are castigating Professor Petras for his left leaning ideology, my answer to them is that intellectual integrity and lucid thinking are far more important towards contributing to a better society than either of the left/right ideologies.
    This article should be an eye opener to those who have high expectations for a Trump presidency. Mr. Trump is already compromising his election promises by kowtowing to the deep state and to the financial elite including the Federal Reserve. While we cannot deny President Elect Trump the credit we owe him for keeping the Clinton ghouls out of the corridors of power, we should be realistic about his prospects at changing the status quo that is enshrined by the predatory ruling class.
    Those who are betting on change through the ballot box will get a rude awakening. It looks more and more that real change without blood spilled is just a mirage.

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  13. @Joe Levantine
    For years I have compared Chomsky's phony activism with the intellectual integrity of James Petras. The much ballyhooed intellectual Chomsky, while not short on intelligence, is a master of lying by omission. This is how he portrays himself as a champion of human rights by exposing US imperialist policies in Haiti and British imperialist legacy in Bengladesh but utterly fails to expose the Israel Lobby's role in stoking the fire of the Iraq war, blaming it instead on the Petroleum lobby. Also, Chomsky's support for the 9/11 official story makes one wonder how a man of such intelligence can accept such blatant misinformation.
    As for the commenters who are chastising Mr. Petras for his left leaning ideology, I would respond that integrity and lucidity in thought contribute far more to building a better society and a better world than any ideology be it on the left or on the right side of the political spectrum.
    This article should be an eye opener to any wishful thinkers who have high expectations from a Trump presidency. We sure can credit Trump with keeping the ghoul Hillary outside the corridors of power. However, we can already sense that Trump is already cajoling the elite and the deep state in a way that will make all his pre election promises a mirage.
    Real change through the ballot box in the western world is just an illusion. Without blood we can only dream of change.

    Without blood we can only dream of change.

    Even with blood any real change would be swiftly co-opted by the usual ( moneybag) suspects.

    It’s pretty obvious that casinos are built to fleece fools, yet the usual suckers embrace a casino owner (and it’s buddy, another casino mogul) as a Messiah. Sigh…

    This is not going to turn out too purdy!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Joe Levantine
    Very sad but very true. The predatory class have shown great resilience over many millennia only courtesy of the sheeple who are willing to oblige.
  14. No sure i understand the Chomsky rants regarding Israel. He was denied entrance to Israel at least once because of his anti Zionist views and is considered persona non grata in the country. The claim that he slandered the BDS is not true. He did say that they should avoid cultural boycott, but this is the same man who convinced Stephen Hawking to boycott Israel, among other things.

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    • Replies: @Brás Cubas
    In my very humble opinion, the Hawking episode may have been just a calculated act intended at maintaining Chomsky's aura as a leftist paragon.

    The self-justification for Chomsky's lack of support of BDS is that it lacks support. You may laugh, but here's the link:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/02/bds-boycott-campaign-israel-noam-chomsky

    To understand more about Mr. Petras' case against Chomsky, you may do a combined google search of their names. For a very short -- and hopefully not too unfair -- summary, Chomsky defends the notion that Israel is a tool of the U.S.A., but not the other way around, whereas people like Walt and Mearsheimer (and, as I undertand it, Petras), argue that the reverse path of exploitation between the two countries is at least equally plausible.

    The possibility that Chomsky is a part of that reverse path is disturbing, but should not be discarded on the basis of hagiological feelings alone.

  15. Mr. Petraus you have distorted Chomsky’s record which is very surprising and calls into question your integrity or lack of due diligence. Quite disturbing to say the least. Although I was a bit miffed at Chomsky’s support of Hillary he never criticized but actually supported Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt as well as BDS. A simple you tube search easily verifies this fact…

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  16. @Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften
    Petras nails it. The second, third and last paragraphs alone make this article great reading. A highlight: "Professor Chomsky and the NYT both supported the presidential candidacy of the warmongering Hillary Clinton, the perpetrator of seven wars that uprooted 20 million people from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, sub-Sahara Africa (Is this any different from Stalin in the ’30’s?) and author/supporter of numerous coups and attempted ‘regime changes’ in Brazil, Honduras, Venezuela, Paraguay and Ukraine." Chomsky!!!! What a creep.

    no one is perfect including Chomsky but Petraus badly misrepresents Chomsky’s record as Chomsky fully suppers Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and BDS. A man of letters, as Petraus’s position leads us to believe, should be very diligent in “getting it right” as not doing so calls into question his intellectual integrity.

    Read More
  17. @gooZy
    No sure i understand the Chomsky rants regarding Israel. He was denied entrance to Israel at least once because of his anti Zionist views and is considered persona non grata in the country. The claim that he slandered the BDS is not true. He did say that they should avoid cultural boycott, but this is the same man who convinced Stephen Hawking to boycott Israel, among other things.

    In my very humble opinion, the Hawking episode may have been just a calculated act intended at maintaining Chomsky’s aura as a leftist paragon.

    The self-justification for Chomsky’s lack of support of BDS is that it lacks support. You may laugh, but here’s the link:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/02/bds-boycott-campaign-israel-noam-chomsky

    To understand more about Mr. Petras’ case against Chomsky, you may do a combined google search of their names. For a very short — and hopefully not too unfair — summary, Chomsky defends the notion that Israel is a tool of the U.S.A., but not the other way around, whereas people like Walt and Mearsheimer (and, as I undertand it, Petras), argue that the reverse path of exploitation between the two countries is at least equally plausible.

    The possibility that Chomsky is a part of that reverse path is disturbing, but should not be discarded on the basis of hagiological feelings alone.

    Read More
  18. @jacques sheete

    Without blood we can only dream of change.
     
    Even with blood any real change would be swiftly co-opted by the usual ( moneybag) suspects.

    It's pretty obvious that casinos are built to fleece fools, yet the usual suckers embrace a casino owner (and it's buddy, another casino mogul) as a Messiah. Sigh...

    This is not going to turn out too purdy!

    Very sad but very true. The predatory class have shown great resilience over many millennia only courtesy of the sheeple who are willing to oblige.

    Read More
  19. The same capitulation to the hard-right keeps happening:

    This is a somewhat blinkered outlook. None of the people, or entities, the author named are “right wing” in the slightest.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Che Guava
    It is not so much blinkered, but misses the point that 'right' and 'left' is a category error now.

    However, I found Mr. Petras' article both informative and disappointing (not the article, but what he recounts, I had not known it had been so stupid, although I'd already thought Lula and Rousdeff to be fake).

    I liked the description of Chomsky, very much agree.

    Look on the bright side QM.

    Can you give a meaningful definition of left and right in politics today?

    It also depends on place, too, of course, in Korea, moderates (who are at the same time, mainly fierce nationalists most of the time), are opposing Pres. Park II. In Korea, I think 'left' and 'right' still have some meaning.

    Half-formed thoughts now, must sleeping, thanks again for explaining your role as QM, I always appreciate education that is a surprise, and not forgetting.

    Regards.
  20. @Joe Levantine
    For years I have compared Chomsky's phony activism with the intellectual integrity of James Petras. The much ballyhooed intellectual Chomsky, while not short on intelligence, is a master of lying by omission. This is how he portrays himself as a champion of human rights by exposing US imperialist policies in Haiti and British imperialist legacy in Bengladesh but utterly fails to expose the Israel Lobby's role in stoking the fire of the Iraq war, blaming it instead on the Petroleum lobby. Also, Chomsky's support for the 9/11 official story makes one wonder how a man of such intelligence can accept such blatant misinformation.
    As for the commenters who are chastising Mr. Petras for his left leaning ideology, I would respond that integrity and lucidity in thought contribute far more to building a better society and a better world than any ideology be it on the left or on the right side of the political spectrum.
    This article should be an eye opener to any wishful thinkers who have high expectations from a Trump presidency. We sure can credit Trump with keeping the ghoul Hillary outside the corridors of power. However, we can already sense that Trump is already cajoling the elite and the deep state in a way that will make all his pre election promises a mirage.
    Real change through the ballot box in the western world is just an illusion. Without blood we can only dream of change.

    “As for the commenters who are chastising Mr. Petras for his left leaning ideology, I would respond that integrity and lucidity in thought contribute far more to building a better society and a better world than any ideology be it on the left or on the right side of the political spectrum.”

    Thank you. Mr. Petras’ forte is indeed the intellectual integrity and courage.

    Read More
  21. @Quartermaster

    The same capitulation to the hard-right keeps happening:
     
    This is a somewhat blinkered outlook. None of the people, or entities, the author named are "right wing" in the slightest.

    It is not so much blinkered, but misses the point that ‘right’ and ‘left’ is a category error now.

    However, I found Mr. Petras’ article both informative and disappointing (not the article, but what he recounts, I had not known it had been so stupid, although I’d already thought Lula and Rousdeff to be fake).

    I liked the description of Chomsky, very much agree.

    Look on the bright side QM.

    Can you give a meaningful definition of left and right in politics today?

    It also depends on place, too, of course, in Korea, moderates (who are at the same time, mainly fierce nationalists most of the time), are opposing Pres. Park II. In Korea, I think ‘left’ and ‘right’ still have some meaning.

    Half-formed thoughts now, must sleeping, thanks again for explaining your role as QM, I always appreciate education that is a surprise, and not forgetting.

    Regards.

    Read More
  22. @frayedthread
    Remember when the Gnome went to bat for Pol Pot? Remember?

    Indeed. He does not seem to be so much right wing or left wing as Satanic.

    Read More
  23. It’s a western phenomenon: the neo-liberals, leftists, neo-labour, marxists work for the banksters, who get free money from the central bank!

    End the FED/ECB/IMF and keep the sovereign state currency + parlementary control over money creation!

    A TRUE DEMOCRACY REQUIRES PARLEMENTARY CONTROLL OVER THE MONEY CREATION PROCESS.

    If not so, like now, Amschel Bauer Rotschild get’s his money power and corrupts the body politic.

    All war’s are bankers wars (Rivero).
    And Bill Still’s monetary solution: No national debt!

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  24. Fascinating stuff. Readers who like this kind of analysis will definitely want to check out the World Socialist Website http://www.wsws.org The WSWS publishes many such critiques of “fake lefts,” grounded in the political-economy view Petras uses. So go to that website and search in the search bar, upper-right hand corner, for “pseudo left.” You’re welcome.

    Read More
  25. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    “reliance on a prolong commodity export boom”

    prolonged

    “But Professor Sader did not looked back in contemplation”

    look back

    Read More
  26. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Okay, the rich folks suck in Brazil.

    But would things be any better if they were gotten rid of?

    Imagine Brazil without the over-class.

    The real problem of Brazil is not class. It is TOO MANY BLACKS.

    A nation can suffer economic downturn and still be half-decent… if it’s white and homogeneous.

    The Portuguese who imported all those blacks are to be condemned forever.

    Read More
  27. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    “The fiasco of left intellectuals and politicos is not confined to the case of Brazil. The same capitulation to the hard-right keeps happening”

    Hard Right?

    These globalist scum are anti-right.
    They are uber-cosmo-imperialist. It is a convergence of elites all around the world and a war on ALL NATIVE MASSES.
    The globalists in Greece and other EU nations are not ‘right’. They are not for defense of motherland and culture. They are for mass migrations of peoples all over the world, the erasure of identity and heritage, and reduction of all peoples into faceless/rootless/mindless consumers.
    Since when are the Warren Buffets, George Soroses, and Bezoses of the world part of some ‘hard right’?

    These lowlifes are invested in the destruction of European homelands by massive invasion.

    To the extent that Petras is also for massive globalist migrations and invasions, he must also be of the ‘hard right’ because the globalists feel less threatened by people like him than by someone like Jared Taylor.

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  28. “Democracy on the march” in Poland, a member of a supposedly democratic EU: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/06/03/polands-cold-war-ii-repression/
    “Mateusz Piskorski is one of the most important anti-NATO activists in Poland, a political expert and a co-founder of the Polish think-tank, the European Center for Geopolitical Analysis. He was a Member of the Polish Parliament from 2005-2007 and for many years he has spoken out in favor European-continental cooperation and against the NATO and American policy towards Europe and the Middle East.
    Mateusz Piskorski was arrested on charges of “spying for a foreign country,” with various media sources hysterically spreading the “unconfirmed reports” that he was employed by the intelligence services of Russia, China “and/or” Iraq. Specific charges are unknown, the whole case is being kept secret, thereby preventing anyone related to Mateusz Piskorski from preparing a defense.”
    Sounds like a prisoner of conscience. Meanwhile the war criminals like Condi Rice and Tony Blair and other torturers and mass murderers are wandering free.

    Read More
  29. Hard hitting, powerful argument. Can’t help but feel that left-right political ideologies distract and divert us from the point, as echoed by many posters here. The question that needs to be asked and answered is always an economic one — Who benefits??? In the case of Brazil (and the U.S.), the bankers are the mirror of the soul of the economic interests of the elites (aside from their economic interests, what else is there???). The point is clear — the political process is, has been, and probably will be owned by the economic interests of the elites forever.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivan K.
    the political process is, has been, and probably will be owned by the economic interests of the elites forever

    Well, let me take a more close look:

    - FDR was opposed by a good chunk of the economic elites. Yes, he has done many bad things that favored economic elites. Still, consider that tycoons wanted a putsch (led by Smedley Butler) to prevent his presidency, which shows weakness in control of the process.

    - Communist countries' political elites did *not* derive their power from economic wealth. Yes, they usually had middle-class benefits a la Ceausescu. My point is that VCRs at home was not a source of political leverage.

    - Further East, sinologists find that the economic elites of China have been sidelined in the political process for centuries, and the genuine rulers were an administrative elite . During the Song and Tang dynasties, the administrative elite presided over economic flourishing, which means it wasn't even bad.

    - "In the tribal societies I studied in West Africa, prompt assassination was traditional response to a lineage head who used the communal grain stores, with which he was entrusted, in order to enrich himself." https://evonomics.com/why-trump-phenomenon-is-a-sign-of-oligarchy/#comment-2999141644

    So, there ARE ways to limit economic power.
  30. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Petras is right to bash globalist-capitalists who have no use for national interests.

    But his view is fundamentally wrong on Brazil.

    The reason why Brazil failed in the end is because it has too many useless morons in the bottom half of the population. Too many blacks, too many mulattos, too many ‘white trash’.

    Also, how could any economy make any progress without the involvement of the capitalist class? If 20th century taught us anything, it is communism doesn’t work, and socialism(or social-democracy) can only be founded on healthy market economics.
    The reason why Swedish ‘socialism’ worked so well was because it was funded by Swedish capitalism. And Sweden always had some very rich people, even under ‘socialist’ government.

    I don’t like this kneejerk attack on big business and corporations. I hate corporations only when they turn traitor to the nation and do stuff like support mass immigration and massive outsourcing. But there is no way to have a modern economy without big business. If big business is bad, imagine US without its top 200 companies. Imagine Japan without its top 50 companies. Imagine Germany without its top 50 companies.

    The reason why Brazil failed in the end wasn’t due to capitalism or even to socialism but to the bottom-feeders. Now, we can show some sympathy for these folks since they are descendants of slaves or have some mixed African blood. And given Latin culture, which is more corrupt and lax than Anglo/German culture, even Latin whites tend to be unprincipled, deceitful, parasitic, and etc.
    It’s like the guide in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Too many Latins have that kind of character. In FAREWELL TO ARMS, Hemingway describes two Italian deserters who eat the food but once the shooting starts, run for mamamia. The Anglo-American hero is so angry that he shoots at the unscrupulous chickenshit Italians. And consider NIGHT OF THE SHOOTING STARS where the family eats the tomatoes and onions but then chickens out and remains in the church. Spanish, Italians, and Portuguese are like that.

    [MORE]

    Latin character in a nutshell(though modern Greeks are even worse, despite baking wonderful cookies):

    Too many Brazilians are leeches. If the leechery of whites in Italy and Spain are headache enough, imagine the problems of leechery in a nation where more than half the people are black? By some estimates, 65% of Brazilians are black or part-black.

    That’s a lot of problem. These people, with wild natures and lower IQs, will not amount to much. Worse, they are destructive. They are not the kind of human material that can be molded to create modern societies. They were only good enough for plantation work under the whip. Good thing those bad ole slave days are over, but these people will never be the kind who will build or sustain modern economies.

    So, what could Brazil do? We know communism cannot run an economy. We know that socialism can ONLY WORK on market economics and capitalist investment. Imagine Swedish socialism without its capitalists. Imagine Japanese socialist programs without its capitalism. Imagine German social benefits without its capitalist sector. Capitalism has to pay for socialism.

    So, the Brazilian Left eventually learned this lesson. But it sure took awhile. After WWII, many Latin leftists entertained the notion that socialism could be the basis for developing economies. But the USSR fell. China turned to capitalism. During the Mao era, leftists were telling each other that Mao was doing a wonderful job. But after Mao died, the truth came out about the Great Leap and Cultural Revolution. And communism did nothing for the economies of Vietnam and Cambodia. And the Cuban Model, along with the North Korean model, totally crumbled once USSR folded and stopped offering subsidies. The Cuban model had been a potemkin showpiece.

    So, the Latin Left came to their senses and realized that real economy must be market-economies, and the Latin American economies must integrate with the world. So far so good. And as the private sector grows, it can be taxed to fund socialism.

    The biggest success of this was the Chilean model. Pinochet allowed market economics to work, and that eventually made it possible for Chile to spend more on public services. But then, Chile is favored over Brazil and Venezuela because it has few blacks and is majority white.

    Against this model were the big Three:

    1. Neo-liberal financial Argentinian model.

    2. Venezuelan model.

    3. Brazilian model.

    The first totally failed. Argentina crashed like Russia in the 90s. What both nations realized that was that foreign advisers from Wall Street and the like are just leeches looking to loot nations. In order for reforms to work, you need a strong hand and national sovereignty. Like China under Deng and Russia under Putin. If you let ‘foreign experts’ run around, they’ll just do stuff to fatten their cronies.

    The second model was hostile to capitalism yet dependent on it. Chavez talked Marxism and praised the Cuban model.. but the ONLY reason he could ‘spread the wealth around’ was because his nation sold lots of oil to capitalist US that have lots of cars and lots of heaters in winter. If Chavez were smarter, he would have been more reflective about the temporary ‘success’ of his socialism. It didn’t fund itself. It was funded by the US market. Instead of trying to build real market economics in his nation, he must made a lot of big noise and spread the wealth around — mostly to his cronies and supporters — as if the cash flow would never end. But the ONLY thing he had going in Venezuela was oil money by selling to capitalist nations. If the US didn’t exist, his socialism would have collapsed overnight.
    And indeed in recent yrs, with low gas prices, the Venezuelan economy has been cratering.
    If Russia fared better, it was because Putin had taken more measures to expand market economy in Russia. Also, Russians, even if they are lazy drunkards, are better human material than most Venezuelans are who are a mixed jumbo of Euro-trash, Negro, indigeno, and etc. Also, racial diversity never makes for much Trust in society. Corruption with diversity is worse than corruption with same people.
    Also, Russia is majority Russian, so there is a send of national unity in times of stress — like South Korea during the financial collapse in the late 90s.

    The third model was the Brazilian model. It wasn’t hostile toward capitalism and America like Chavez’s was. Chavez acted like Gaddafi, the would-leader of all the Arab and African peoples. Chavez saw himself as the reincarnation of Bolivar and Che, the new liberator of all of Latin America. It was rather hilarious because he looked like a squat Mexican cleaning lady pretending to be a man.
    Brazilians were more diplomatic and easy going. Also, they were savvier than Argentinians who messed up with currency-manipulation. Braziilans really had a strategy of expanding the market for their commodities and developing domestic talent and skills. And for awhile, it seemed to be working.

    But in the end, they faced the same problem as that of Venezuela. Too many low-quality folks in the populace. Even with government aid and assistance, too many Brazilians couldn’t amount to much, not even as small businessmen. They were just taking subsidies and pretending to do stuff when they totally depended on the public spigot.

    So, both nations, despite different attitudes, went through the same process. When commodity prices were high, both nations rode high and could spend freely — on government spending and on their cronies. Poor folks could be made to feel things were improving when, in fact, they were hardly mastering skills necessary for future economic development. It was all make-believe progress funded by government flush with cash.
    But once the prices collapsed, they had nothing left. US economy is diversified with lots of skill and talent, so even if one sector fails, they have other sectors going strong. But Venezuela has only oil, and Brazil essentially relied on oil, soy beans, and metals. When the prices cratered, Brazil ran out of cash.

    Now, one could argue that Brazil and Venezuela could have done more to develop domestic talent and boost market economics at home, but we must take into account the human material of those nations.

    Consider how Japan lost 1/3 of its economy in WWII. And it has few natural resources. Same with Germany. But both nations rose fast because they have excellent human material and genuine national unity and consciousness. This is not the case with Brazil and Venezuela that have too much Euro-trash, mulattoes, blacks, and dazed indigenous folks. Granted, some of these people would do much better with improved leadership and guidance, but the culture is rotten in both nations and there is little in the way of Trust. So, even if the best efforts had been made, there wouldn’t have been much to show for it. It’s like California. It has very successful sectors dominated by whites, Asians, and Jews, but most blacks aren’t good at high-skilled stuff. Worse, they are not even good at low-skill stuff and often steal on the job like Omar Thorton. Mexicans can work hard, but they’ve been stuck at menial jobs because they either lack cultural or intellectual means to make progress.

    But the LEFT cannot address this issue because of its bogus universalism that theoretically believes Gypsies are just as gifted as Germans and Pygmies have the same intelligence as Jews. I mean gimme a break.

    If the failure of Brazil is the result of the pact of socialists with capitalists, then how come Venezuela fared even worse? Sure, Petras is probably right that the very people who are going after Lula and Rousseff are lowlife weasel opportunists. But even if they were the most principled folks on the planet, there is nothing that can be done about the fact that much of the population of Brazil and Venezuela are hopeless in any modern economy.

    In Sweden, socialism meant people working, paying into the system, and getting from the system. In Brazil and Venezuela, as in Greece, it’s about too many people just taking stuff without ever paying into the system. Worse, so many are criminals and thugs.
    But then, Sweden is now headed toward something like Venezuela and Brazil since it has decided to import tons of morons from Muslim nations and Africa who will only be leeches on the system. But the LEFT goes on pretending that all races are equal, and if Sweden has problems with immigrants, it must double down and bring in more immigrants and try harder to turn them into ‘good Swedes’. You can’t do much with low human material. It’s like you can’t do much with Mexicans and Asians if you want a world class basketball team. Sweden is especially a sad case since it could have avoided its crazy fate. We can’t blame blacks and others in Brazil and Venezuela since they were either conquered by Spanish/Portuguese or brought there by force to work as slaves. So, they have a ‘right’ to be there.
    But Sweden could have remained all white with a healthy socialism funded by well-oiled capitalism. It had no reason or responsibility to take in African and Muslim morons. But sick ideology got into their brains that filled them with both ‘white guilt’ and ‘moral hubris’. The result is disaster that is unfolding and getting worse every year.

    The combination of Latin Catholicism and mixed-raced-leechery is a deadly formula for Latin American nations.
    Catholic teachings are awful in their stupid contradiction. On the one hand, Catholicism denounces capitalism as ‘greedy’ and ‘materialistic’. But Catholics say it is so wonderful to be charitable and give and give and give.
    But in order to give and give and give, people need lots of wealth. And to generate wealth, you need capitalism.

    Why are so many intelligent people against business and capitalism? Business isn’t just about smarts. It is about having a certain kind of personality, and many smart people don’t have it. Indeed, they find the business personality to be repellent in its hustling-bustling way. It’s like they can’t stand Donald Trump. They can tolerate someone like Bill Gates because he funds prog organizations. They might admire someone like Steve Jobs who pretended to be some ‘creative’ guru. But the fact is most intelligent people don’t have the alpha personality to succeed in business. So, they either business personalities as bullying alphas, or they hate them out of envy, which they will never admit to. So, they turn ‘left’ and seek plush positions in media or academia(or some NGO, ironically funded by businesses), and pretend to SAVE THE WORLD by chest-thumping in hipsterish ways. They produce nothing but make the most noises about ‘giving’.

    This is why Protestant Work Ethic works better. It says capitalism is good because it’s about hard work, and God wants you to work hard and invest and make more money. But God also wants you to do good work. So, Protestant work ethic tells you to work hard. It says it is shameful to be leechy and take handouts. If the rich must do good work with their money, they must support institutions for scientific research, libraries, and reform centers that turn derelicts into moral beings. Give to endeavors that strive for advancement of human potential.
    Even when Protestantism gives, it tells the taker that he better be grateful and try to become someone who no longer takes. There is no pride in taking just to take.

    But in Catholic teaching, it is good to take just to take. It is good to be a bum or leech. Indeed, we should just look upon the poor with condescension. They are poor, so we must give them stuff and pat ourselves on the back.

    But if takers believe that it is their right to take, they won’t ever try to rise above taking. Worse, if capitalism is seen as evil, then not enough people will become rich. So, even if they believe in giving, they won’t have much to give. Since capitalism is stunted under Catholicism, much of the wealth is a matter of land-ownership or inheritance or corruption.

    Now, raw capitalism can be an ugly thing. We see it with the neo-gilded age since the 80s. The Gekko-ism.
    But capitalism of the Protestant Work Ethic did wonders for the world.

    Consider this scene from the Argentinian sci-fi film MAN FACING SOUTHEAST.

    The messiah-like freak moves dishes from a rich man to feed a poor family to some Catholic mass music or some such. So, the rich guy is bad cuz he’s rich. He shouldn’t eat what he is eating. And the poor family should have this free meal because they’re poor. Okay, I feel for the poor mother and her kids too. But how is this any kind of long-term economic or social plan?
    Hey, there are poor folks!!! Let’s take some food from rich folks and just give it to them. Such distributionism works for one round. You can take from the rich and give to the poor, but once the poor use it up, there is nothing left. For more of the goods to be constantly generated, you have to get EVERYONE into the economic process. But to the Left or the Catholic Church, that would be getting people involved in ‘greed’ of capitalism. It’s utterly idiotic.

    Of course, socialism is sometimes a moral crutch for lefty types. So, some intellectual who envies the rich businessman will throw a buck into a cup of a homeless person and feel so good about himself since, unlike the greedy rich, he cares about the homeless and spared a buck. So many Latin American leftist just envy yanquis and gringos because the latter are so much more successful. But instead of admitting to their envy and resentment, they pretend they are less fortunate out of choice because they don’t go for ‘greed’. But when these a-holes get a chance to grab stuff for themselves, they act just like the Clintons who amassed tremendous amounts of money.

    Now, unfettered consumer capitalism can be an ugly thing because it gets people hooked to narcissism, hedonism, trashism, negroism, homoism, decadence, and etc.
    So, what is to be done? We can’t go back to the Protestant Work Ethic model since people no longer fear God. The only solution is a neo-fascist capitalist model that creates a cultural and moral life centered around nation, family, heritage, and real culture(and deep reverence for nature). A person with respect for history and reverence for nature doesn’t get an ass tattoo, stick a safety pin through her nose, and/or dye her hair green.

    But there is nothing the Left reviles more than ‘fascism’ when it is the only effective balance against the extremes of capitalism(and socialism) in our world.
    Russia has many problems, but the current stability is due to fascist elements: respect for nation, reverence for the idea of Russian-ness, sense of Russian heritage and the Church, a sense of ethnos and common purpose, and etc. Without such consciousness, capitalism leads to narcissism, homomania, trashiness, Lena-Dunham-ism, Masha-Gessenism, and Pussy Riot.

    Fascist-democratic-capitalism-socialism is the only way forward.

    But in places like Brazil and Venezuela, nothing may work because the human material is so low. I know that is taboo in Leftist circles that believe all humans are ‘equal’. But they are NOT. Anyone who knows evolution knows that people evolved differently with different attributes.

    Read More
  31. @Clearpoint
    Hard hitting, powerful argument. Can't help but feel that left-right political ideologies distract and divert us from the point, as echoed by many posters here. The question that needs to be asked and answered is always an economic one --- Who benefits??? In the case of Brazil (and the U.S.), the bankers are the mirror of the soul of the economic interests of the elites (aside from their economic interests, what else is there???). The point is clear --- the political process is, has been, and probably will be owned by the economic interests of the elites forever.

    the political process is, has been, and probably will be owned by the economic interests of the elites forever

    Well, let me take a more close look:

    - FDR was opposed by a good chunk of the economic elites. Yes, he has done many bad things that favored economic elites. Still, consider that tycoons wanted a putsch (led by Smedley Butler) to prevent his presidency, which shows weakness in control of the process.

    - Communist countries’ political elites did *not* derive their power from economic wealth. Yes, they usually had middle-class benefits a la Ceausescu. My point is that VCRs at home was not a source of political leverage.

    - Further East, sinologists find that the economic elites of China have been sidelined in the political process for centuries, and the genuine rulers were an administrative elite . During the Song and Tang dynasties, the administrative elite presided over economic flourishing, which means it wasn’t even bad.

    - “In the tribal societies I studied in West Africa, prompt assassination was traditional response to a lineage head who used the communal grain stores, with which he was entrusted, in order to enrich himself.” https://evonomics.com/why-trump-phenomenon-is-a-sign-of-oligarchy/#comment-2999141644

    So, there ARE ways to limit economic power.

    Read More
  32. Anyone who characterizes Dilma’s constitutional impeachment as a parliamentary coup (terms created by the PT) demonstrates to be ignorant of everything that he pretends to know about Brazil.

    Like Chomsky, Petras lies by omitting the millions of Brazilians on the streets demanding the end of the PT dynasty and its epidemic corruption. And murders, as Celso Daniel’s.

    But, how could he? After all, Petras thinks that Lula was actually a worker and the PT ever was a workers’ party.

    Read More
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