Venezuela’s Problem is Capitalism

No matter what people are saying, the economic crisis in Venezuela is clearly rooted in capitalism, not socialism. Anyone who wants to say that this crisis is strictly a result of the social-democratic policies of the Venezuelan government is manipulating the facts.

The most obvious fact dispelling this is the other left social-democratic economy: Bolivia. At the moment, Bolivia’s economy is thriving, due to a boom in the demand for minerals.

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Evo’s little secret

As the price of minerals has shot up, the price of oil has plummeted. Oil, of course, has been the primary mover in making the social programs in Venezuela possible. The collapse of oil prices was not because of Venezuela’s social system, but rather because of the world market and geopolitics.

The policy crystallizes when we take a look at the words of Ali al-Naimi, who was the Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources in Saudi Arabia: “As a policy for Opec – and I convinced Opec of this, even Mr al-Badri [Opec secretary general] is now convinced – it is not in the interest of Opec producers to cut their production, whatever the price is.”

If you refer to the above links (both of which are BBC, hardly a leftist news outlet), we can see that the levels of production maintained by OPEC are entirely intentional. Oil prices are artificial, as OPEC countries over-produce. The rationale for such a move is, according to the BBC, the Gulf states’ attempt to keep their market-share.

However, that article also clearly demonstrates who the losers are when over-production happens: Russia, Iran, and Venezuela are at the top of the list.

Where does that leave us? Is it reasonable to assume that the drop in oil prices is entirely manufactured in order to not only maintain Gulf states’ market-share but also to destabilize countries that don’t nicely fit into U.S. global hegemony?

We shouldn’t take the right-wing baiting that Hugo Chavez’s mistake was nationalizing industries – Chavez’s mistake was rather assuming that the global powers weren’t intent on destroying his gains.

Chavez’s mistake was that he didn’t completely do away with capitalism in Venezuela.

Since the beginning of the social programs instituted by the Bolivarian government under Chavez, the West sought to undermine ever step of progress – even to the point of attempting to overthrow him in 2002.

Remember that throughout all of this:

The U.$. doesn’t hate Venezuela for the bad things it has done, but for the good things it has done.

Obama Legacy in Latin America

English Teachers Are 21st Century Missionaries

English teachers (usually native speakers from one of the Anglo-West countries: the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand) travel across the world today functioning essentially as non-military tools of Western domination.

Similar to missionaries of previous centuries, English teachers often see themselves as ultimately benign actors: “We’re helping people learn English! We’re giving them opportunities!”

We can put aside the white savior complex and strictly analyze the role that they play. English teachers are able to virtually travel anywhere in the world and receive compensation for doing minimal labor.

Replace “Christianity” with “English”, “Church” with “School”, “The Bible” with “Grammar Textbook”, and “saving souls” with “providing business opportunities in a global economy”.

What does this formula give you?

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saving all the brown people

English teachers are missionaries – just of the English language. Let’s not forget the historical fact that part of missionary work in the past was also the invaluable tool of language education.

You need to read our Bible in our language!

Today, as there is no longer a territorial Christendom to speak of, these missionaries act on behalf of the American Empire.

White People Deserve It

While the white “working class” of the first world countries complains about their situation, we should remember this:

If communism had spread unhindered during the 1960s and 1970s, then multinational corporations wouldn’t have been able to outsource jobs to the third world. White people destroyed Vietnam and then are confused as to why all the factories are in Vietnam.

When white people express their racist/imperialist sentiments, we shouldn’t try to appease them in some Bernie Sanders hat trick. Rather, we should recognize that first world white people brought this world into existence and refuse to reflect on their own actions.

Trump Supporters Racism

And now we have mainstream liberals eulogizing “the middle class” and we have these new “democratic socialists” arguing for the rights of “the working class”. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are appealing to those who want to see the American Empire thrive.

There is no working class in the first world.

When we on the left capitulate to the Sanderites, we essentially lose any claim to our own narrative – which is politically devastating. Sanders has supported every imperialist war (except Iraq), doesn’t support any form of reparations, and has not interest in bringing about the twilight of American power.

Sanders is no leftist.

And when Dumbass Trump hurls tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat airbase in Syria, we need to recognize that there can be no “deal” struck up with the forces of capitalism today. We have no allies among those who support capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and imperialism.

We cannot make broad alliances with liberals, Sanderites, and Trump’s horde of neo-nazis.

Just (Don’t) Do It, Hijabi Style

Nike just unveiled (pun unintended) their new line of sports hijabs. The impetus behind such a move came from the growth of female Muslim athletes seeking to participate in popular sports and having hijabs that are conducive to such activities.

From the outset, I want to state that I 100% support female Muslim athletes participating in sports and wearing whatever they want. And I think it’s wonderful that sports-oriented hijabs are available to allow them to do that. My skepticism arises from the fact that Nike is involved.

My problem is not with the athletes, but with the demonic corporate behemoth trying to ingratiate itself even further into Muslim society.

The Arab News article points out that “Muslim consumer spending on clothing is estimated at $243 billion in 2015, according to the State of Global Islamic Economy’s report. The revenues from modest fashion clothing purchased by Muslim women have been estimated at $44 billion in 2015. Muslim spending on clothing is expected to reach $368 billion by 2021.”

Go to any city (or even village) in the Middle East today and you’ll be sure to see the Nike swoosh (along with other corporate logos) splayed across any assortment of clothing. Western multitnational corporations have fully penetrated the markets of the Middle East.

Here’s an anecdote from a non-Muslim artist and blogger named Tommy Kane:

“The other day I was riding on the subway. I noticed a muslim girl wearing a Hijab or headscarf. It was black. When we exited the train together, I noticed that in dark grey were Calvin Klein logos all over here Hijab. I was a bit stunned by that. Is that allowed? Who knows.”

We’re living in a blurred space. Is the purpose of the hijab to sell clothing?

It seems fairly self-evident that we have a problem when Western corporations are co-opting these symbols and transforming them into manipulative ploys of consumerism.

Adidas, Puma, Nike, and all the others are looking for their piece of the pie of the multi-billion dollar Muslim market.

Nike is by no means some enlightened, benevolent company simply set on trying to help Muslim women participate in sports. Nike is seeking a profit, an in, a market-share, and (naturally) a recuperation of Muslim culture into the superstructure.

If Nike seems feminist or inclusive here, then we must take a step back.

Nike is one of the largest apparel companies in the world and is notorious for its use of sweatshops. Nike, of course, denies this fact on the basis that it sub-contracts out its labor to small factories dotted around the Third World. But anyone with a brain knows that workers in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Honduras, or China aren’t working in humane conditions.

Regardless of how many glowing articles Business Insider writes, Nike’s name and logo equal one thing: human rights violations.

So while the (almost exclusively white) American executives lay out their sleek business reports and cash in on their exaggerated profits, those (mostly women of color) languishing in sweatshops around the world are left suffering.

Poor Muslim women in Bangladesh making Nike hijabs for rich Muslim women in Gulf States.

There are no limits to the irony here when one female athlete talks about how “the Nike Pro Hijab empowers her.” And, of course, in a way, she’s right.

The deeply patriarchal power structures in the Gulf are suffocating on everyone. The atrocious instruments of control that exist need to be uprooted.

However, is Nike really a trustworthy ally in the struggle against patriarchy?

Against Free Speech

There is a wide discussion happening in the West these days about governments cracking down on Freedom of Speech. In the dominant liberal-democratic order, Freedom of Speech is enshrouded as a sacred principle in the corpus of society.

Without the sacrosanct Freedom of Speech, we’re told, all views are put under threat. We are, therefore, supposed to defend, the holy order of Freedom of Speech.

As you have undoubtedly noticed from the title, dear reader, I don’t agree with this characterization.

It seems to me that Freedom of Speech is not some heavenly-ordained value that we should hold as essential in all times and all places.

I’d like to make the counterargument, that this “Freedom” can play a negative role and should, therefore, be more limited to restrict the speech of fascists. We should analyze Freedom of Speech critically and be willing to abandon it in certain situations.

Freedom of Speech, for the purpose of writing a coherent text, will furthermore be defined here as “the right to say things without state intervention.” I am not including societal backlash in this definition, but I will touch on that as well.

Noam Chomsky argues that in order to call ourselves defenders of “free speech”, we must be willing to defend speech that we find most abhorrent. Chomsky used this line of argument famously to defend the publishing of a book that denied the Holocaust.

I agree with Chomsky 100% on the logic and disagree with him 100% on the conclusion.

Today, Freedom of Speech is a façade.

In the West, it is a façade behind which fascists mask their plans. The Berkeley student body appropriately erupted at the prospect of a Nazi making speeches at their university. Immediately after the protests, everyone on the political spectrum began talking about Freedom of Speech. This ought to horrify all of us.

The Nazis themselves used the opportunity to argue that their Freedom of Speech was being threatened – as though the state was silencing them.

The fact is that the state isn’t cracking down on people like the Nazi who wanted to speak at Berkeley, unfortunately. In fact, Trump himself made sure to support the poor little Nazi in his hour of need.

To understand this broader principle, we should unpack this supposedly-cherished “freedom”.

Speech is language. And Language is a system of symbols.

By advocating “free speech”, one says that all variations of these systems ought to be available. All variations should be allowed to be expressed without facing state repression.

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However, the problem is that systems of symbols propagate ideas and, following that, organizations and movements. The fascist variations on this system of symbols are completely unacceptable and ought to be suppressed. We must absolutely reject a society where Nazis and Alt-Righters spew their filth around.

We can get into Wittgenstein and the concepts that language establishes the bounds of human thought.

Or we can take a cursory look at the world. If Nazis are able to influence people with their speeches and publications, the response should not be: Let’s keep that going!

Therefore, we should ask: what is the solution?

State repression has often been successful at destroying (almost exclusively leftist) movements. In fact, the current president of the U$ is pretty consistently threatening to restrict the speech of the Left.

In light of this, state repression of the Alt-Right Nazi scum would be a welcome change.

The classical liberal argument stems from the love of negative liberties: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, etc.

Despite this, every state has limits on every one of these liberties.

In the United $tates, any speech can be censored if it might lead to “imminent lawless action.

Free speech is tailored (but not enough) in Germany, where Nazi rhetoric and symbols are illegal.

I’d support taking it even further.

When it comes to destroying Neo-Nazi groups, right-wing militias, ISIS or Al-Qaeda, these organizations should be outlawed and their ability to express their views should be completely undermined.

If Dumbass Trump started throwing fascists and Nazis in prison, I wouldn’t hesitate to stand by the effort.

I’d be happy to help, in fact!

Advocates of free speech will also argue in favor of the cherished concept of the “marketplace of ideas”.

“Let people debate and argue freely and the best ideas will float to the top!”

This presupposition of the inherent value of ideas coming from their broad acceptance is blatant silliness.

We know that time and again humans are susceptible to accepting terrible, poisonous ideas. Colonialism, slavery, genocide, and war have all been spread through mass populations.

These ideas were, of course, spread through speech and publications.

No, the marketplace of ideas functions as poorly as the marketplace of capitalism.

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Death to the Fascist Snake!

As Kelefah Sanneh argues, “These days, just about everyone claims to be on the side of free speech.

If we take Chomsky’s proposition and say that we must defend the speech we hate in order to call ourselves defenders of Freedom of Speech, then I am no defender of Freedom of Speech. I am not on the side of free speech.

In fact, you, dear reader, are probably also guilty of such a transgression of liberal values.

If, however, after reading this, you find that you’re ever the defender of Freedom of Speech, then please feel free to contribute to the legal defense of Tarek Mahanna.

Or re-post materials published by ISIS.

Or re-post Neo-Nazi articles.

Under no circumstances will I be joining you.

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