States within the global political economy today face a twin insurgency, one from below, another from above. From below comes a series of interconnected criminal insurgencies in which the global disenfranchised resist, coopt, and route around states as they seek ways to empower and enrich themselves in the shadows of the global economy. Drug cartels, human traffickers, computer hackers, counterfeiters, arms dealers, and others exploit the loopholes, exceptions, and failures of governance institutions to build global commercial empires. These empires then deploy their resources to corrupt, coopt, or challenge incumbent political actors.
From above comes the plutocratic insurgency, in which globalized elites seek to disengage from traditional national obligations and responsibilities. From libertarian activists to tax-haven lawyers to currency speculators to mineral-extraction magnates, the new global super-rich and their hired help are waging a broad-based campaign to limit the reach and capacity of government tax-collectors and regulators, or to manipulate these functions as a tool in their own cut-throat business competition.
Unlike classic 20th-century insurgents, who sought control over the state apparatus in order to implement social reforms, criminal and plutocratic insurgents do not seek to take over the state. Nor do they wish to destroy the state, since they rely parasitically on it to provide the legacy goods of social welfare: health, education, infrastructure, and so on. Rather, their aim is simpler: to carve out de facto zones of autonomy for themselves by crippling the state’s ability to constrain their freedom of (economic) action.
Also, claiming that communists tried to nurture a middle class is just plain wrong. Communists were, at least according to Communists, trying to abolish class entirely, and initially to uplift the proletariat, the working class.
And, moreover, one particular nation-state. But still, the scholarship you find in American Interest tends to be high quality. I can respect a sincere concern with quality argumentation, even if the reasoning is motivated and even if I don't entirely sympathize with that motivation.
> Also, claiming that communists tried to nurture a middle class is just plain wrong. Communists were, at least according to Communists, trying to abolish class entirely
The second sentence is entirely accurate. However, the article doesn't claim that communists (or capitalists) of the 20th century were trying to nurture "the middle class". Rather, the article (carefully) claims:
"virtually all states—whether capitalist or communist, industrialized or developmental, great power or post-colonial—aimed to legitimate themselves by serving the interests of middle classes whose size they sought to expand... Both capitalist and communist accumulation strategies were based on the nurturing of industrial laborers".
I think the article's characterization is fair, in-so-far as you can say anything at all about such a broad group of political projects as "all capitalists and also all communists"! WRT your first sentence specifically, the communist project did aim to "nurture" industrial laborers; the purported means was abolishing class, of course, but all the same.
We can't expect to read articles as if they are the neutral truth (which doesn't exist anyway). That's why we need a free press expressing a diverse bunch of ideas.
A weak point in left thought to my mind is its widespread spontanaeism - the notion that once people just see how well other approaches work they'll naturally adopt them. While true to some extent I think it also rests on a sort of utilitarian rationalism and skates over the problem of incumbent actors operating in bad faith. So people either tend to avoid that question altogether (utopianism) or posit extreme solutions that take no account of tactical/strategic factors (ultras). If you delve into the work of statists like Bill Lind, in contrast, you don't have to look too far before coming on discussions of the practicalities of repression and how to implement it while maintaining strategic superiority.
The AI analysis is OK from that perspective - kinda like classical mechanics does a decent job of predicting local astronomical phenomena despite its explanatory limitations.
Also, claiming that communists tried to nurture a middle class is just plain wrong. Communists were, at least according to Communists, trying to abolish class entirely, and initially to uplift the proletariat, the working class.
Well, you could say lift them up into what? The middle class is in the middle between (stereotype warning) powerful idle elites and downtrodden industrial wage slaves/serfs. The Communist Manifesto sketches the idea of the future society out quite loosely, but it boils down to 'hey, we could actually provide a middle class lifestyle for everyone by rethinking property relations' - Marx talks about everyone putting in some work but also having meaningful amounts of leisure time . Presumably the heroes of a future communist society would be those who maximized consumer rather than producer surplus after externalities had been accounted for.
The goal wasn't to drag everyone down to the lowest pits of the working class, but to afford everyone the freedom from day-to-day economic insecurity and the dignity middle class people have historically enjoyed, without allowing new elites to coalesce. Think of post Kruschev Soviet media where there's a sort of technological and economic self-confidence on display.
Ditto with skills, tests. Don't care, just as long as i'm above others.
A lot of people don't REALLY want to abolish slavery or heirachies. What really want is to ensure they're considered the masters.
No question that mentality exists, I'll argue that it's a very small minority of eg millionaires in any society that hold such a view.
There are around 11 to 13 million (not including primary residence) millionaires in the US; or around 4.5% to 5% of the adult population. The typical millionaire in the US is worth about $3 to $4 million. While it's a very large group of people spread across the country, they do have a few things in common.
The majority acquired that status from working extremely hard for a very long time, usually either operating and or selling relatively small businesses with no more than between a few dozen up to a hundred employees, or slogging away for decades piling up invested wealth slowly over their lifetime.
The millionaire class in the US is numerically overwhelmingly dominated by those types of outcomes and has been since the industrial revolution.
Extreme wealth on the other hand obviously is concentrated in a few thousand persons with unusual outlier situations, usually around very large business concerns. My suspicion is that group is dramatically more likely to have a master of the universe mentality.
I'd say it's the majority of millionaires that I've met (all successful small business owners).
They all worked very hard for their wealth and built it over a lifetime, as you said, but every single one of them relished screwing over others and being better than others. They worked like they did for their egos, and not much else. And all of them are virulently committed to making sure they stay on top, even if the top is sinking.
I went to school with their children and their wealth was not shown in any obvious way. We were all equal.
To maintain their wealth required long hours, hard work and generally being fair to everyone around them. Within the same area, we had people who didn't have the same level of wealth but considered themselves superior because they were lawyers, or bank managers or other professionals. These carried an air of distinction and superiority and many considered the "millionaires" as plebs.
One cannot generalise about any group based on some specific characteristic like money. Each of them is an individual and though some can and do take up airs, others do not. I have a son to whom I have lent money so that he can get ahead and he has always shown himself responsible, including paying me back. The way he is going, he will be a millionaire long before I am. I have another son to whom I will not lend any money to, as he has shown that he cannot handle the responsibility. They were both brought up the same way, only one took up the challenge to be financially proficient.
Different people will act and react in different ways and you cannot paint any group of people with the same brush.
"""the social group that has the highest status in society, especially the aristocracy.
"it is important that the children of the upper class attend the ‘right’ school"
I could have the same goods as you, but we'll find a way of distinguishing ourselves based on accent, assuredly. Speaking as a Brit.
If anything we should be striving to limit the power of artisotricacy type groups (whether in dynastical political families, special interest group form, oligopolistic industry cartels with political pull, etc, etc).
I don't see anything especially wrong with that as long as said distinction isn't built on some kind of vertical hierarchy which involves downwards oppression/discrimination.
People can be vastly different yet still consider each other as equals. The only reason we think of this as a contraction is that for the longest time humans have solely organized themselves in vertical hierarchies where the "top" is supposed "the best" going down to the "bottom" with the supposed "worst".
That's why so many people are conditioned to always strife for the top, for them it's the goal of the game, but a games goal can be changed, just like its rules.
Maybe you look down on me because I don't even have a HAM radio license, maybe somebody else considers himself superior because he knows a lot about wines, maybe other person thinks she's cooler because she knows everything about 80s punk bands...
In developed countries even the poorest are infinitely better off than the upper class in medieval times, safe for the aspect that they're not richer than their peers. That seems to be a very important factor for happiness.
Precisely. And the Communists did one thing grossly wrong - they substituted the Capitalist class with the Communist "Elite". It was from an older owner to a newer owner. The people saw little difference in who they were required to work for.
A new Communist thought is that of worker collectives. The idea is that they are better than unions, with the capitalist class continually picking and clawing at any reforms. With a worker cooperative, the owners and managers are the very workers which eliminates that avenue of strife. And it is one step closer to the proletariat owning the means to production.
Oh and if you quit using their services and then try to later, they will collect. But yeah, this is the "bad" side of capitalism - you not only will be automated out of a job, but will have decisions automated. And seriously - of course they will be decided against your favor. The capitalists didn't get in their place by loosing money.
And yet, I get downmodded for talking communism. It's about time someone talks of different economic theory. We've gone down long enough of "trickle down", and it doesn't work - or it works beyond the elite's dreams.
You don't have to argue with them - you can always take your money elsewhere. Big corporations are already AIs (although slow and made of people) that are optimized for one thing - their customers.
Many people have a fundamental liking to be in positions of power. What system are you proposing?
> With a worker cooperative, the owners and managers are the very workers which eliminates that avenue of strife.
I'm sure you've been to Linux/OSS meetup. Linus rules with an iron hand, as does Guido for Python. Why does that eliminate strife? IRL, forking is not relatively painless.
The unfortunate problem with most systems yet devised is that they fail to account for humans actively subverting them and coopting them.
Without that prospect, they stopped bothering. The Taliban's popularity came despite the opium ban, not because of it. The poppy growers did not get high on their own supply.
not so much lately. the taliban are at their highest peak of territorial control since the invasion, but these days their territories export poppies.
Dig far enough back into the texts of most religions and you find that they have sections that are old laws dealing with everyday domestic quarrels.
I'd very much like to read an exploration of the relationship between the rise of irreligious social constructs and the decline of the importance of religion in modern states.
Not that it was ever followed in practice in the centuries that followed.
I wouldn't call drug cartels, human traffickers, computer hackers, counterfeiters, and arms dealers the "global disenfranchised" at all. I'd call them very powerful, but criminal. "Criminal" is not the same as "disenfranchised"; "powerless" is.
So what the quote means to say is that there are two sets of powerful people seeking to carve out spaces for themselves. One operates totally outside the law, the other operates within the law but wants a space where fewer laws apply to them.
The notion of social obligation is one that is problematic from top to bottom for this precise reason.
However, I don't know of a great source for this type of information, it is just the impression I get from a variety of sources that I have been able to find.
In general, the best overall English language resouce on what is happening in Mexico that I've been able to find is Borderland Beat. They translate a bunch of article from Mexican newspapers and repost stuff from English language newspapers as well. http://www.borderlandbeat.com
They had an interesting article about a recent study showing that the recent increase in violence seems to be due at least in part to the weakening of the one party system in Mexico that had stabilized the cartel situation due to long term continuity of the corruption. http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2017/11/study-sheds-new-light-...
1) it doesn't seem to scale past a certain community size
2) it leaves them vulnerable to aggression from rival groups that get in cahoots with narcos and other powerful people (caciques, etc), and when they ask for government help the response they get is along the lines of "well, you wanted to be autonomous, so now help yourself and don't ask for help". In many cases it's even been pretty well documented that the government itself funded these rival communities precisely to "punish them" and create conflict due to them "daring" to go independent.
In any case, some communities have very interesting takes on how governance should be carried out. For example, some require people to serve in the "governance body" for a short period of time (I've read about 3-6 months in some cases) so that everyone gets to participate a few times at least and thus everyone's interests are fairly represented. Also, those positions are often unpaid as they are considered to be "your duty", i.e. it's the share of the load that you get to carry for living in such society, and so on.
Unfortunately I can't link any sources since a lot of this info has been told to me in person and some I've read in obscure magazines, random blog articles or Mexican newspapers and such. I think the works of Eduardo Galeano , if you can find them translated, have some information on Zapatistas' government structure called "Caracoles" for example.
It's an interesting topic to say the least.
I read part one of EZLN's "Autonomous Governement" but had forgotten about that. IIRC, one issue they mentioned is that when they invested in services, people outside the autonomous areas wanted to use them but didn't help support them at the same level as they were using them, which increased the difficulty of providing services for the community. I should read the first one again and the rest of them. The english translations are available at:
You link confuses the Zapatista Galeano with the writer Eduado Galeano, at least to the extent of implying that Subcomandante Galeano is named after the writer. The Zapatista Galeano was killed by paramilitary forces (that came from two rightwing parties, the Green Ecologist Party and the National Action Party, as well as the Independent Center for Agricultural Workers and Historic Peasants) who also destroyed a school and health clinic.
No, I was trying to refer to Eduardo the writer. He's written about Zapatistas' Caracoles a bit. Can't find the specific text though :(
Closest thing I could find with a tiny bit of information about Caracoles is the Wikipedia page translated with Google :/
But at least maybe you can find some pointers there in case you want to do a bit more research.
In any case, my Keybase profile is in my hn profile so you can get in touch with me if you want to.
And the rojava is not really anarchist afaik. (there is only a small anarchist group inside, of mostly foreigners)
They are a independent Kurdish society in the first place. Then they have strong ties to marxism because of Pkk and their history, but lately more moderate federalism.
But with the pressure from ISS and now turkey, they just accept any help they can get, so that's why they have hardcore marxists next to antimuslim fanatics next to regular (capitalist) american special forces.
If it would not be cracy dangerous, I actually would like to see all that weird mix by myself ...
There are also interesting things happening in Catalonia and the Basque country, but the limit between anarchy, direct democracy, autonomism is more blurry there.
I would also add that another reason why they are not talked about too much in the media is because they keep quiet. They know that a small community has to live under the radar because a strong influx of newcomers could easily destroy them.
though strangely apparently not between 2005 and 2017.
It's also worth noting that "consumer capitalist interests" is a term I've never heard and, more importantly, neither has Chomsky, who never used the term.
Yet when the central government tries to take action against them, naive people in Mexico City take to the streets to protest over civil liberties. The cartel problem is treated as one of crime, when it is really one of insurrection.
When the US had its civil war, Lincoln did what needed to be done: civil liberties were abridged, habeas corpus was suspended, secessionist state legislators were arrested, seceding states were blockaded, and Lincoln openly violated court orders demanding otherwise. Sherman’s March to the Sea had such a devastating effect on the South’s economy that it caused mass starvation among Southern civilians. The time for magnanimity and kindness came after the war, where a blanket pardon was issued on the condition of future loyalty. But until the final victory was achieved, nothing was off the table.
Mexico needs to eradicate the cancer within. Their survival as a nation-state depends on it.
No, it's a country split into trafficking fiefdoms with some violent disputes about the divisions that's in denial about that. But there's no general civil war.
> Yet when the central government tries to take action against them
The central government sometimes rearranges which traffickers are allowed which territories, which results in an upswing in violence. It rarely moves against them generally, though it uses that as the cover for shifting arrangements.
It's funny that you recognize that public officials involved with the cartels are a major factor, but somehow seem to exempt the central government.
That’s very much at odds with most of what I've seen, which is that both regional commands and the highest levels of authority in the army have shown corruption by and, especially at the regional level, direct intervention on behalf of cartels.
A revolution on the part of the Mexican people is needed, but the US will never allow such volatility so close to home. Until then, the US government is content to let the cartels and the Mexican state fight it out ad infitium.
Source: dated a woman who worked there.
Yazmin Quroz, a longtime resident, said working with police officers, whom she now knows by name, had brought a sense of community. “We are united, which hadn’t happened before,” she said. “We’re finally all talking to each other."
So those would be examples of lack of trust or dissolving of trust emerging as the reps return home from the voting grounds of the capitol(s) to meet their constituents who are questioning the motives and decisions of their representatives who should be acting in their constituents best interested (or whatever campaign promises they used to build themselves up as electable/elected).
(Let me know if this became too abstract, I just did not research and pull examples.)
As far as I am able to tell, the town is not: a tourist area, on a main route to anywhere, bordering the US, etc.
It has now become a joke to say "échale aguacate", (throw in some avocado) to express something like "go all out" or "be a big spender".
They crossed 1.5 2017 dollars back then too.
I can't find accurate avocado prices worldwide, but the soaring prices over the last decade or so are easily attestable in Mexico, or at least their effects are. I think the prices have always been high in the US due to tariffs and transportation costs. So perhaps the prices haven't changed much, but the demand sure has.
It's worth noting that the 'smashed avo on toast' meme originated in Australia. It was a tongue-in-cheek jab at millennials who complain of being priced out of the property market but still have the temerity to visit cafes regularly.
Otherwise, damn, it sucked to be Irish...
Good bread is key, I like olive sourdough or something chewy with grain. Layer of avocado, layer of hummus, sprinkle feta cheese, sliced tomatoes, lettuce on the side as a “chaser” and... yum.
I guess that’s “cultural” in that it’s just adding avocado to a Greek thing. I’d guess that’s the story of how a lot of people got into various new produce... add it to the familiar.
Avocados have become very popular in the low-carb/paleo/"health" community, alongside coconut oil, and various other trending foods.
I don't think that people have been lacking the knowledge to put avocado on toast until a meme about millennials never being able to buy a house due to spending too much money on avocado on toast.
Also, I'd read that last joke as more like a "guac is extra" joke (referencing Chipotle) in American culture, than anything about avocado production - in fact a Google Images search for "guac is extra" brings up the same dude tossing the same bills: http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/bitch-i-kn...
The joke in Mexican culture is about Mexican culture because avocados are becoming more expensive everywhere in Mexico, not just in some restaurant chain. Mexicans are genuinely starting to becoming unable to afford paying for avocado. The only reason the joke works in Spanish, (e.g. give me some premium gasoline and smear some avocado on it) is because a staple food is getting out of reach.
Add some red onion, tomato, salt&pepper, and you have one of my favorite memes - lunch.
Another thing is a system of "taxation", narco gangs put on these people. They have to pay the taxman from the state, as well as protection money to the rackets.
For a great documentary on this topic (this and how the people are trying to defend themselvs) I can point you to "Cartel Land" -- available on Netflix.
At this point, cartels want to control territory to prevent rival cartels from controlling territory. Less drug gang more fiefdom
A bit like the tax authorities in any country, but even more callous and without public scrutiny.
And you are right, that is exactly what all tax authorities do. It's important to get those political realities right.
The Italian Mafia both in NY and Italy have done that. Escobar did it. Al Capone did it. Etc. One can certainly debate their reasoning for doing it of course (eg buying goodwill so they can continue their crime spree, set up an underdog appeal and so on).
My father is from the Tancitaro town area.
It is fairly famous, in anarchist circles, that half of a state of Mexico consists of anarchist communes, independent from the state. It has been that way since at least 1994.
(From memory) there was a shooting in Acupulco a day or so ago which left like 8 dead. A local town security force arrested a guy and it turned into a gun battle. Then the feds showed up and attempted to arrest members of the local security force who fought back and some of them were killed also. It's nuts. Hope things stabilize down there. Feel awful for the people who have to put up with it all and used to really enjoy traveling in Mexico.
Search youtube for the video where cartels attack the police headquarters and hotel where they were staying.
Not to say this is far along the road of chaos, but chaos is always the correcting factor to things. At the end of the day people are going to look out for their best interests no matter the official state line/laws.
I skimmed through the article so I may have missed something, but what I read was about how the municipal authorities took over many of the state / federal responsibilities. The last one is engaged in a turf war with the state police.
What about the federal taxes? Infrastructure projects? Salaries of the state employees?
It is generally a bad idea to have a failed state on your border, but moreover to have one that will be eager to host few Russian tank regiments.
Soviet agents were all around Mexico during cold war years, there is nothing to suggest that they were recalled after the fall of USSR.
But yes, I tell people back home all the time, in a lot of ways it feels more free here than in the US. (I'm a gringo living in Mexico)
It's intentional. The lower Americas are pushed into this state by various corporate interests in the US which are large enough to dictate policy. I've written about this before:
Here's the reality: the US isn't even remotely as powerful or influential in about 180 of the 195 nations as the propaganda would have you believe. The US plays very little role in the affairs of most nations.
People take it to absurd extremes in trying to blame the US for anything and everything that happens, including: all poverty and crime in Latin America (but not the prosperity in Canada of course), any and all polical chaos in Africa (but not the improvements there in the last 50 years), anything in Eastern Europe that is bad (but not the dramatic increase in most standards of living there post cold war), et al.
Typically if you dig into any claims about the US doing X Y Z, you'll find the story goes dramatically beyond any influence the US had on the situation. Iran's last 40-50 year history is a classic example of that intellectual fraud (usually the false claim is put forward that the US toppled a democratically elected government, which isn't true (it was never democratically elected for one thing), and is therefore responsible for every bad decision Iran has made about installing and keeping a 40 year theocracy).
The list of the countries the US did topple or try to topple in the 20th C because of their "quasi Socialist" (or democratic) tendencies runs into the dozens. The stories are sickening.
"While there are no freestanding foreign bases permanently located in the United States, there are now around 800 US bases in foreign countries. Seventy years after World War II and 62 years after the Korean War, there are still 174 US “base sites” in Germany, 113 in Japan, and 83 in South Korea, according to the Pentagon. Hundreds more dot the planet in around 80 countries, including Aruba and Australia, Bahrain and Bulgaria, Colombia, Kenya, and Qatar, among many other places. Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history."
'The US plays very little role in the affairs of most nations.' Really? So GTFO, for god's sake.
Who are these people "trying to blame the US for all poverty and crime in Latin America", "all political chaos in Africa"?
Your claims seem to me a good example of 'taking it to absurd extremes'.
Basically, the US, is just another empire in the pages of history. It is not the all bright shining red white and blue in which you've been brainwashed to believe. The rest of the world certainly doesn't buy that bullshit.
Just read about United Fruit Company. It's one of the many if not hundreds of cases where US corporations became the vanguard of US foreign policy to extract economic, military, and political concessions by forcing them to go under debt (which they can't pay back).
Iran is another excellent example where Kermit Roosevelt (Grandson of Ted Roosevelt) was able to bribe and influence the prince to plot against his own father in order to extract their oil.
It's not just Iran but Indonesia and pretty much every fucking corner of the world where they are able to bribe the elite of those countries.
Did USSR do the same shit? Would they have done the same shit to the country had US not? Of course! Because they are all giant countries with continuous need for resources in order to keep their place.
So the US is just another empire but because of the nuclear threat that USSR posed, they couldn't just invade countries out right (in fact it's A) Bribe B) Assassinate/Coup C) military), so it evolved into this clandestine network of corporate interests to do what all empires do: take shit because North America wasn't enough.
It just infuriates me to see people attempting to take the moral higher ground by trying to point fingers at other countries that managed to stand their ground by building up their own fuck-you-stick. It makes me sad how ignorant some Americans can be, but can you blame them?
Literally, the same old tricks of every empire that came before it and it will be replaced by another one that will do what empires do best.
When did Russia ever "threaten" anything like that? And do you really think Euromaidan, which was basically just Orange Revolution 2.0 , was in no way sponsored, motivated and financed by US gov agencies  and served as a primer for that whole Crimea situation? It's not like a well known National Security Advisor has spelled all this out in a book  or anything like that.
It's not like this information is hard to find for anybody who actually bothers to look for it . That section of the Wiki article used to be its own, way more detailed Wiki page, until some Wiki editors decided it's far better suited as yet another sub-topic on US foreign policy. The scariest part being that this is only the public record, you'd be naive to think this is even remotely the whole picture.
The matter of fact is that the US has been the de-facto hegemonial power on this planet for this past century, even proudly boasting about it to anybody who would want to listen "America No1" and even those who rather wouldn't want to listen.
You can't go around boasting like this, with a well-known history like that, and then turn around and go "Actually we are not that powerful and influential, nobody really minds us and we didn't do anything of relevance".
Similarly, you can't go around willy-nilly toppling governments, regardless of them being "elected" or not, and then absolve yourself from any responsibility for everything that follows after that, that's not how history works. Iran today is what it is because of its history, said history involves a US-sponsored coup. Maybe if this whole "Russia influenced US elections" hysteria goes into overdrive you will maybe understand what something like that can do to the collective psyche of a nation and it's people.
You might not see the US trying to topple Sweden, but it's a well-established fact that US economic interests (copyright lobby in particular) have had their fair share of meddling with Swedish internal politics (piratebay), it's similarly dishonest to list Japan there because just like Germany it's a country which was rebuilt by the US with US interests in mind. Germany's constitution has far-reaching intelligence services exemptions in place for exactly that reason and it didn't stop there either  . Yes, that last source is the world socialist network, but it's literally the only English language article I found about that particular issue, which is rather odd considering it made some big waves in Germany at that time.
Mind you: I'm not saying the US is responsible for all the bad things in the world, but trying to belittle the influence the US had, and still holds, like you just did there, comes across as extremely dishonest.
I'll try to answer this the best I can. First know that it won't be Americans for long, China is picking up whatever the US neglected and doing the same shit. Also realize that this is how empires operate for the longest fucking time.
Literally every page of history is filled with similar methods.
Step 1) Install a puppet, give them huge "aids" or loans to buy guns, bridges, electricity, hospitals.
Step 2) The puppet and empire knows he can never pay the loan back so they ask for their natural resources or other political or military demands.
Step 3) The puppet looks at his palace, harems, horses, jewlerry its all too much to lose. In fact, life is so good for him and his family there's nothing that can possibly get in his way. Oh and his son just graduated from Harvard, must buy him a new lambo.
Step 4) National assets are slowly stripped, the elite enjoy a marvelously rich life from the arbitrage and owns much of the country which they can exchange for continued material pleasures. They look down on their poor countrymen (from which they exploited) who wonder how a leader can sell their country out.
Now what happens if you don't take the bribe and play ball with the empire? You get replaced. Suddenly riots starts to sprout up. Local media 'stumbles' upon huge corruption.
And then it becomes just how badly the puppet keep his place. So much that killing an entire generation of his countrymen do little to deter his weekend getaways to his yacht in Monaco or penthouse in NYC. What else is the alternative?
Plata O Plomo
I don't think the CIA is innocent but too many of my brothers and sisters are obsessed with how the west/US treat us. My opinion is that this energy would be better spent doing some introspection and being obsessed with how our government officials behave. I just feel I have more chance of influencing a few fellow Africans here than I have of influencing the CIA to act in my interests.
Similarly, the best thing for Africa is to somehow form a coalition to collectively operate on Africa's interest.
It's extremely difficult to pull off, but education is the only way forward. The more people are aware of what is happening to your country, what their leaders are doing will allow for better decision making but this is also tough in countries where the leader has all the latest tools and gadgets specifically aimed to disrupt such rebellion or threat to their powerbase.
It trigger one of the most violent revolutions of the 20th century, with great loses of life and economic infrastructure.
In response to this lack of action, Zapata promulgated the Plan de Ayala in November 1911, declaring himself in rebellion against Madero. He renewed guerrilla warfare in the state of Morelos. Madero sent the Federal Army to deal with the Zapata, unsuccessfully. Zapata remained true to the demands of the Plan de Ayala and in rebellion against every central government up until his assassination by an agent of President Venustiano Carranza in 1919.
The brilliant northern revolutionary general Pascual Orozco, who had helped take Ciudad Juárez for the revolutionaries, had expected to become governor of Chihuahua, a powerful position. In 1911, although Orozco was "the man of the hour," Madero gave the governorship instead to Abraham González, a respectable revolutionary, with the explanation that Orozco had not reached the legal age to serve as governor, a tactic that was “a useful constitutional alibi for thwarting the ambitions of young, popular, revolutionary leaders."
Madero had put Orozco in charge of the large force of rurales in Chihuahua, but to a gifted revolutionary fighter who had helped bring about Díaz’s fall, Madero’s reward was insulting. After Madero refused to agree to social reforms calling for better working hours, pay, and conditions, Orozco organized his own army, the "Orozquistas", also called the Colorados ("Red Flaggers"). In early 1912 they rebelled against Madero, causing considerable dismay among U.S. businessmen and other foreign investors in the northern region. It was a signal to many that Madero’s government could not maintain the order that was the underpinning of modernization in the era of Porfirio Díaz.
In April 1912, Madero dispatched Gen. Victoriano Huerta of the Federal Army to put down Orozco's revolt. As president, Madero had kept the federal army intact as an institution, using it to put down domestic rebellions against his regime. Huerta was a professional soldier and continued to serve in the Federal Army under the new commander-in-chief, but Huerta's loyalty lay with General Bernardo Reyes, rather than the civilian Madero. In 1912, under pressure from his cabinet, Madero had called on Huerta to suppress Orozco's rebellion. With Huerta's success against Orozco, he emerged as a powerful figure for conservative forces opposing the Madero regime.
During the Orozco revolt, the governor of Chihuahua mobilized the state militia to support the Federal Army, and Pancho Villa, a colonel in the militia, was called up at this time. In mid-April, at the head of 400 irregular troops, he joined the forces commanded by Huerta. Huerta, however, viewed Villa as an ambitious competitor. During a visit to Huerta's headquarters in June 1912, after an incident in which he refused to return a number of stolen horses, Villa was imprisoned on charges of insubordination and robbery and sentenced to death. Raúl Madero, the President's brother, intervened to save Villa's life. Jailed in Mexico City, Villa fled to the United States, later to return and play a major role in the civil wars of 1913–1915.
Notably, the men who conspired against him were previously his revolutionary supporters.
Madero was not topped by Orozco. Abraham Gonzales and Villa were always loyal to Madero.
Madero was topped by Huerta, Feliz Diaz and Bernardo Reyes who conspired with Henry Lane Wilson.
It was not a stable political system. Wilson stepped into that void (and wrongly), but he did not trigger that revolution.
After Huerta's golpe is when the Bloody Civil War started. Death toll estimates are between .5 and 2 million.
Even President Woodrow Wilson was appalled by Henry Lane Wilson's assistance to Huerta's coup d'etat against Madero.
And as such exactly the kind of situation which is very susceptible to external intervention/influence. For somebody with ambitions like that, it's exactly the right time to get involved to influence the outcome, while somebody with no ambitions like that would most likely not get involved and wait for it to play out "naturally" and reassess their approach after that.
So therefore it is legitimate to blame the US for most (or even all) violence in South America.
For example, the town of Tancítaro became prosperous (and therefore valuable for organized crime) because they grow lots of avocados. The US doesn't fight a war against avocados.
Since they don't know any reputable trades, some problems with protection rackets etc. will remain for years. No one will be perverse enough to blame those echos of The Drug War on the fact that we finally decided to end it. What, did you think that narcos are somehow representative of Mexican national character? They most certainly are not.
Because other than botched ATF stings, I haven't heard any claims of this previously.
For example, one study is at https://nacla.org/article/small-arms-trade-latin-america.
> The U.S.-Mexican border is also a central route through which illicit small arms enter Latin America. A study released by the Mexican government suggests that as many as 2,000 guns are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border daily. As in Colombia, these guns are fueling an arms race, in this case between Mexican drug cartels, costing the lives of 4,000 people in 18 months.14 Weapons, including assault rifles like AK-47s, AR-15s, and M-16s, fetch up to three times their U.S. market value in Mexico, assuring a continued southward flow of weapons.
M16s are only a part of the problem. AR15s and ordinary 9mm handguns can be had in Walmarts or "conveniently" bought without any background checks/documentation on private sales.
I mean, I understand the appeal on having a 9mm at home for self defense, and a hunting rifle for, well, hunting - but having AR15 or worse for everyone at a supermarket? And then the ability to sell 'em on without any record of the transferral? I don't get the US on gun rights sometimes.
And there is no corporate interest that wants mass killings and kidnappings.
The guys who sell you x-ray machines and bomb sniffing dogs and private security services.
And the companies who build military tanks, planes, and ships.
And the companies that build guns, body-armor and night vision goggles.
And the ones that want you to be scared because scared people are easy to manipulate.
Oh, that stuff represents a shit-ton of the federal budget? Weird. I guess it's just a really dangerous world, nothing to be done about it...
Basic hardware is cheap. Anyone can make it and that drives down price. The Mexican police can buy cheap guns and bullets from whoever they want. Stuff like radar systems and guided missiles are what makes it into the highlights list of the quarterly all hands.
It also sold a ton of those bomb search machines and led to a couple of huge wings of the government (NSA and TSA).
Cheney's Haliburton stock being a singular example of this type of violence being beneficial to certain corporate interests.
People with power and money are much more cynical that we'd like to believe.
Than you'd like to believe. I have no illusions.
African enslavement anyone?
Violence -- political violence -- was endemic in the 60s and 70s in Latin America, and that was not because of the U.S. The U.S. didn't get involved in, say, Chile, until 1973, and even then, while Nixon supported Pinochet at first, Kissinger did tell Pinochet to cool it. Carter did not support the Argentine "Proceso" either. You can say what you want about the School of the Americas, but the Argentines had a long long history of political violence going back to pre-WWI days. The U.S. had NOTHING to do with Perón, nor with the coup against him in 1955, nor with any of the succession of civilian governments and military coups that followed it, nor with the peronist violence.
Political violence greatly cooled off in Chile, Brazil, and Argentina after the experience of the 70s. Not -mind you- because dirty war killed the violent (dirty war was awful and a failure) but because people just got tired of the violence. For example, in 1983 Argentina had free elections again after 7 years of dirty war, and they voted for the normal guy rather than for the radical leftist put up by the peronists. Then for each successive economic crisis (they're like clockwork down there) there was... no violence -- nothing remotely like the violence of the 60s and 70s.
Now, I'm focusing on Argentina, and you might say they're unique, but I don't think so. The story is not the same throughout Latin America in terms of detail, but writ large it kinda is: the 60s and 70s were a violent time. In Central America the violence went on much longer, and in part that is because Cuba and the USSR stoked it. Now that the USSR is gone and Cuba/Venezuela on their heels, violence in Central America is down a lot -- especially in Colombia, where a clean war defeated the communist guerillas and the narcos.
It would be much more interesting to study why political violence was so endemic in Latin America in the 60s and 70s, and later still in Central America. But as it's very popular to blindly blame it all on the U.S., I fear there's too little interest -- the narrative that "the evil U.S. what done it" must be too appealing, facile though it is.
The US like USSR used ideological excuses to prop up dictators who goes into heavy debt from buying weapons, infrastructure etc.
When they can't pay it back (not all country is Saudi Arabia), they must give in to US demands, not directly of course because that would directly implicate US but through US corporations.
In return these dictators enjoy their power, material perks and send their offsprings to the elite military academies in America where they learn the latest in torture and warfare tactics to keep their father's opponents at bay (so they can keep all the cool toys).
Would it kill you to admit that possibly, that US is not exactly innocent or uninterested (as you say) in South America or any other parts of the world? Would it anger you that this imperial economic system was created to benefit the elite in your own country while letting the poor barely afford the luxuries that even other smaller countries have such as national health care?
I'd understand what you are saying if the average American were the intended benefactors of this global imperialism but you are not. You are just saying exactly what you've been programmed to say because admitting the truth is too painful. Similarily for Russians or Chinese, everyone is going around defending the elite of their country, for what? National pride? How patriotic would you be when you realize your own leaders don't give a fuck about you?
It's time to wake up and realize, we are living in the same feudal society which we were sure was over. I don't even care that it's Americans. Yesterday it was Britain. It could be China doing the same shit tomorrow. It could be Russia or India. It doesn't matter. All we can do is just acknowledge and try to think independently! I'm not even saying everyone get their pitchforks and start a revolution. It's just a slow step to eroding that mountain of ignorance now even bigger thanks to information overload.
This isn't even remotely correct. The US began expanding its influence in South America (Chile included) around the early 1800s.
South America has been getting plundered by empires for centuries, the US is just the most recently successful one to do so.
I must still be misunderstanding; you're saying US interests have had no involvement with the violence in South America before 1973? If so that is assuredly false.
"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."
-Major General Smedley Butler, War is a Racket (1935)
This primary source shows that the CIA was encouraging political violence before 1973.
But more than that, the violence stopped in the 80s. As horrible as the dirty war was, one thing changed in its aftermath: there was no further appetite for political violence afterwards. It's certainly NOT the case that all who liked violence met a violent end during the dirty war. What happened was that there was a noticeable -impossible to miss!- "enough!" feeling throughout Argentine society in 1983. How do you square that with "the U.S. what done it"?! I don't think you can.
No objective historian would say that the US is responsible for all or most of the violence in South America, nor that it has been innocent. The violence is not due to the US but rather is largely a result of the divide between the landholding elites and poor and the economic/social system the Spanish set up.
To add to their examples, political violence was common in Mexico from 1900 onwards, and that was largely self-inflicted.
Mexico had a revolution at the beginning of the century. It lasted 3 years at first, and then the US ambassador was involved in the murder of the President, which extended the violence for at least another 4 years.
Mexico has a cartel problem now. It also happens to have in its northern neighbour the biggest consumer demand for drugs in the world. And said neighbour will rather export its problem and fund a war south of the border with billions of dollars, torture training and illicit arms smuggling , than address its public health issue.
We just hear a disproportionate of news from Mexico because of how close it is.
But on the other side, that's not healthy for the people of either country. For example, I regularly meet Mexicans that think Americans hate them. And comments from the people who post in /r/the_donald regularly have me shaking my head muttering "poor sheltered bastard."
Even HN commenters will talk about how they want to pull the trigger on leaving their boring office job and move to Chiang Mai, but that's a pretty incredible move. It's far away and with a much different culture and language, which is a cool thing but increases the chances that you just won't do it.
Meanwhile I'd say I have a pretty exotic lifestyle living on nothing and I'm just a 2 hour flight from my family in Austin.
Colloquially, judging by its per capita GDP  and intentional homicide rate  it seems to fit right in with what people think of when they use the term "Third World".
Now, for what it's worth, the dysfunction is far less pronounced further away from the border. It's quite a developed country, aside from the sorts of places where you can be raped and murdered for criticizing the wrong people. This is largely despite the state though, which is why you'll probably see more secession.
That same northern neighbour whose ambassador is attributed as having a key role in the assassination of the ideological leader and president after the last revolution, and brought the country back into 4 more years of violence and fighting .
Or that same northern neighbour who swept in and took almost half its land after Mexico had just come out of a war against Texas and another against France.
Historically the US has been the prime benefactor of not only Mexico, but all of Latin America being dysfunctional, which is why the CIA has been involved in destabilizing the region for years.
To even implicitly imply that some causal relationship between border security (irrespective of how effective you think a wall is to this end) and Mexico's inability to govern itself is highly misleading.
This is a pretty good short video about how building a wall can help Mexicans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLv8Z6bsI24
HN's core value is intellectual curiosity. That's the first casualty in ideological battle—actually it evaporates before the battle even begins—so we have to be proactive about this. If you'd please read the site guidelines and also https://news.ycombinator.com/newswelcome.html and take the spirit of this site to heart, we'd appreciate it.
If you don't believe me, here are some quite typical posts that run the contrary direction to yours:
These people are having the same reaction as you are, they just start from the opposite end of the football field.
That doesn't mean we're magic centrists in a centrist fairyland. It means the situation is affected by other factors, some of which aren't obvious. If you want to look at this objectively you have to work to suspend your own political feelings, which is not easy to do and not something many people want to.
> If you want to look at this objectively you have to work to suspend your own political feelings, which is not easy to do and not something many people want to.
And something I think you have failed at doing. (As you believe of me, so I guess agree to disagree.) However, you are the one bringing it up in a moralistic and pedantic way from a position of power as a moderator.
And, if the above is correct it's totally fine. Almost every community will have a majority opinion and the cool part is that the staff at HN doesn't let it get too far out of control. And I have seen posts complaining about large numbers of "fascists" on HN for instance which blew my mind, but apparently it is largely a matter of perspective.
Incidentally, I keep saying this and people don't apparently agree, but not everything fits neatly in boxes of left and right. My belief is that people who are really thinking will find, given time that they don't eternally fit neatly in either category.
The problem with increased border security is, in my view, is that big federal security apparatuses (apparati?) are security contractor cash-cows engaged in security theater. The DHS in general and the TSA in particular are cases in point. In other words, I don't think government should be a meat-grinder into which you feed people you don't like. a) false positives are far too frequent, and b) literally no-one deserves to be put into "the system" as it stands. Maybe if the justice system were reformed, maybe if politicians (particularly the GOP) showed some adherence to actual values instead of tribal, angry populism, I could get behind that.
That said, borders are what makes a country. If you cannot do something so basic as controlling who comes into your country, it would be pretty difficult to call yourself a sovereign nation. So I think that should be a much higher priority in terms of national defense than interfering in conflicts thousands of miles away.
Since I'm quite libertarian, I'm not a huge fan of government action in general. However, I do see a role for government and defending the borders of the country from foreign invasion (which is essentially what illegal immigration is) should be the government's highest priority as it is the most basic role of government.
While it has become a meme, building a wall, at least along the easiest places to cross, would make the job for our border guards much easier. It would also have maintenance costs, but if we do it right it very well could be worth it in the long run. Especially if you take into consideration how many government resources illegal immigrants take away from the rest of the population.
A little anecdote I saw a while back during the "immigrant day of absence" to show how necessary "immigrants" (that term is very muddied since people insist on lumping legal and illegal immigrants into the same bucket) are a lot of kids didn't show up for school. A teacher tweeted about it saying how much easier class was that day because of how many fewer students there were to teach. So to some people that day had the opposite effect as to what was intended by the organizers.
Anyway, no other country on the face of the planet are as courteous and welcoming as the US is to people who aren't in their borders legally. I do not see us owing them anything, and while they do have certain rights, we shouldn't treat them like cockroaches, they have broken our laws and should be dealt with in the same way we would deal with any of our own citizens who would break the law. In addition to being deported at the end of their confinement.
As for criminal justice reformation, I more or less agree, depending on what you are referring to since that's quite the broad statement. Ending the war on drugs would be a great thing. But I see a lot of our problems to be more societal and stemming from illegitimate children, fatherless homes, than any other single source.
It is of strategic importance because Assad was about to start selling oil in another currency than the USD. The moment the USD stops being the main oil trade currency the monetary bubble will explode just as it did in the late 60s (after which the current petrodollar system was instituted) and america won't be able to run on printing money anymore.
These arguments are popular when someone's preferred party is out of power, but reality is that there is a bipartisan opposition and bipartisan support for legalization. About 28% of Democrats oppose legalization, while 30% of Republicans support legalization. The numbers are actually fascinating. 
For example, Hillary Clinton was all over the 1994 crime bill that her husband signed into law -- with a Democrat Congress (Republicans didn't actually take the majority until Jan 1995 after sweeping the 1994 midterm elections. She promoted the law, she supported it. She even famously called African American young men "super predators" -- while stumping for Bill Clinton on the 1996 campaign trail. That super predators line came when Hillary was trumpeting the success of the 1994 crime bill. 
So to imply that "Congress is going to do diddly squat about legalization while the GOP runs the place" -- that's intellectually dishonest.
And the reason I mention Hillary Clinton is because the implication with these sorts of comments is that Democrats would legalize if Trump and the GOP weren't in power. Since Hillary was the alternative, her background is very relevant.
If Clinton was president, they would have most likely kept the Obama-era policy rather than reverse it after multiple states voted for legalization
I agree with grandparent that Sessions' action will tend to increase pressure for federal decrim., and that might even be Sessions' (and/or President Trump's) goal.
What would the effect of Federal decriminalization be on the mid-terms? Don't you think it would help Republicans? Do you think they don't think so? Of course they think so.
I don't know if it will pass, but my guess is that a reasonable bill would decriminalize marijuana possession and trade, but would keep it illegal for interstate commerce (this would be a sop to those States that want to keep it criminalized). Sort of like the 21st Amendment, but as a statute. Such a compromise would help Republicans in States where legalization is popular and... would not hurt them in States where it is not. It would also help with the federalist types.
This should all be blindingly obvious. The only reason I wouldn't make a prediction is that Republicans sure know how to shoot their feet off.
Do you think your theory is really more likely than this being Sessions simply doing exactly what he's explicitly said he has wanted to do every single moment of his entire adult life, crack down on people who use pot?
Crushing states where pot is legal will lose them the most heavily blue seats that they would never win anyway, but why should they care? It will give their base what they say they want whenever you ask them, the thing that they want most, that drives them to the polls. It is an assault in a culture war against the smug, pot-smoking coastal elites and despised pot-smoking minorities, hippies, college kids. Perhaps they see the drug war for what it is, for how it was designed: not a war on drugs, but a war on the demographic groups of people who tend to use them. And that's why they support it.
At best, I'd see them allowing a vote on it then let their vulnerable reps in purple/blue states vote yes but make sure it fails anyway: "I'm on your side, I promise, see, I tried".
With what votes, and what leadership?
The entirety of the GOP house leadership opposes any form of legal cannabis. Messer, the policy committee chair, even opposes medical cannabis for vets prescribed by their VA doctor and residing in states where medical cannabis is legal.
Concretely, which GOP representatives do you think will vote for decriminalization? I'm incredulous, but curious to hear a rational argument that this is a remotely reasonable expectation.
Sure, if you think they should do it, totally valid opinion. Talking as they are going to implies knowing something that everyone else doesn't, which is why you're being challenged about it.
It's easy to make something look rational when you pick and choose axioms. The republicans don't have a rational interest in decriminalization because their financial backers don't want it, and they have moral qualms about it since 100 years of government lies convinced them it's the devil's plant.
It's just a bunch of jackbooted thugs, who got lucky for some reason and somehow became police officers, extorting money from everyone because of some arbitrary state power entrusted in them.
I've seen cops in Vietnam make hundreds of dollars a day in bribes, when the average Vietnamese person makes $5 per day. Sure, they're making a lot of that bribe money from tourists, but I can guarantee you that they're not reinvesting that money in the local community.
There is no grace and humanity in these systems. It's greed, it's capitalism at its most pure, if you have the money, you can do whatever you want, as long as you don't draw the ire of the powers that be. It is not a fair system, the poor just get fucked over harder, why is the government worker going to process your paperwork faster when the person next to you is willing and able to pay more to get it done?
Of course since he wrote this he had to return to America to flee a murder investigation so you should take everything he says with a grain of salt.