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Archive for the tag “Greece”

The Problem with Human Nature

I’ve heard it a million times if I’ve heard it once. “But Tim, communism doesn’t take human nature into account.”  Today we’re going to discuss this argument, and examine what “human nature” is. Sound like fun? I thought so. Read on.

Human Nature: Is there actually such a thing?

I think that it’s a good rule of thumb to immediately put on your thinking cap and skeptic specs any time you hear the term “human nature”. Why? Because in my experience, and I think that many an academic will agree with me here, is that the term “human nature” used in a polemic is usually for the purpose of falsely claiming the naturalist umm, nature of one’s ideology to benefit one’s own position. For example, the fascists that argued that class structures of high to low, rich and poor was simply a natural occurrence and one that could not be altered. Or racists who argue that there are naturally occurring races, and that naturally, some are more y’know, superior than others. Surely we can see this, right? Surely some countries are poorer than others, right? That should mean some nations are superior to other nations, right? Right?

Wrong. You see, the whole “natural” thing is a complete and utter logical fallacy. Please see the following entry on the Naturalistic fallacy. http://www.logicalfallacies.info/relevance/naturalistic/

Before we get into what human nature even is, if you argue that communist ideology is at odds with “human nature”, you are implying two assertions:  1. Human nature cannot change 2. Human nature is not wrong because it is natural.

Leaving the first alone for a  moment, let’s focus on the second thing. Yeah, that’s the problem. There’s your fallacy fucking up your argument. tsk tsk. Alright, but why? Well, let me put it this way. Human nature is good. Humans have human nature. Ergo all humans are good. Well, what about Hitler, Mussolini, and Timothy McVeigh, they were human, so they must be good, right? And in fact, since what they were doing was only natural, as they were only acting upon their human nature, there’s no way, or hell, even reason to try to stop them, right? WRONG. This is the problem with this kind of thinking. It is a logical fallacy. It is also wrong in the first implied assertion I listed above. Human nature is not one thing. Humans don’t all have one nature. We’re a diverse species of over 7 billion people.

Anthropologists have studied human beings for many years, and if you’ve even taken even one anthropology course in college, you should know that any one-size-fits-all idea of human nature is absolutely bullshit. Do all humans share certain characteristics? Yes. Do we all share the same social, economic, religious and political systems? Fuck no we don’t. If you have primitive communism in one place, advanced capitalism in another, semi-feudal agrarianism in another, how can you say that human nature is uniform? Furthermore, humans have changed their political and economic and social systems many times over the course of human history. You had the republican (actually mostly supported by slaves) system in Rome, the early form of democracy in Greece, you had god kings in such places as Egypt and Japan, while in other countries you had regional war lords jockeying for power and control. You had some pacifist societies, and some societies that were organized along strict military lines, like Sparta. So, what is human nature? Greed? Selfishness? If you claim that greed and cut-throat selfishness are at the core of human civilization, then you have to ignore all the societies that have been pacifist, egalitarian and or communal. In fact, a majority of the world’s cultures lean more towards collectivism than they do towards cut throat individualism.

I could argue that because humans are a social animal, and always have been (argument from antiquity); or I could argue that humans are majority collectivist (argument from popularity) or that humans have been more equal throughout time than unequal, but those are logical fallacies. You see, we are not completely at the mercy of fate. We have brains, we can think, we can reason. We invent things, we invent culture, we invent art and we, yes, invent political and economic systems.  Human nature, whatever it is, and whatever you may think it entails, is not an argument, and never has been an argument against communist ideology.

Marx explained in the Manifesto of the Communist Party that all history is the history of class struggle. He explained how human political, economic, and social systems evolve. If you want to start somewhere, start there, right on this blog. Check it out. And then read more, because if you’re making the argument against communism based on “human nature”, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

“Hitherto, philosophers have sought to understand the world; the point, however, is to change it.”—–Karl Marx

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And the Nobel Peace Prize goes to…

The internet erupted with outrage at the announcement of the winner of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. A prize that is supposed to be given to those who have advocated for peace, and helped bring about a more peaceful world. Of course as you most likely know, this year’s prize went to the European Union. After having given the prize to other capitalist imperialists such as Barack Obama and Henry Kissinger, this only helps solidify the meaninglessness of the prize and its control by those who wish to advance, not human rights or democracy, but capitalist control over everyone and everything. Their rationale for awarding the peace prize to the EU was that it had solidified unity on a continent that used to be torn by war. This may sound reasonable to some, but if you dig just below the surface you’ll see that this is a farce, and that giving the peace prize to the EU is like giving a prize for outstanding human rights to the keepers of Guantanamo bay. Now I’m going to tell you why.

Peace and Human Rights my Ass

While it’s true that Europe has managed not to kill off the entire globe yet, that is hardly cause for a Nobel Peace Prize. Hell, I’d qualify for that shit if that was the case. What is the EU’s stance on human rights? Have they actually produced a more peaceful world? The answer to both, unfortunately, is a negative one. Let’s start with the first question, human rights. Is Europe upholding human rights? The answer is an unequivocal NO. Let’s start with the support of many EU countries for and complicity in illegal CIA renditions. No less than 14 EU member countries have been explicit in helping the US with their illegal kidnapping and imprisonment structure in Europe. Countries like the UK, Germany, Poland, Italy, Greece, Sweden among others. Want to read more about this? Glad you asked, because here is a link for you from the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/07/world/europe/07iht-prisons.1915898.html

And that’s not all. Amnesty International reported that migrants to Greece, many of them minors were being unfairly and illegally imprisoned in detention centers. Here’s the story here:  http://www.amnesty.eu/en/press-releases/security-and-human-rights/detention-of-minors-in-greece-shows-failings-of-eus-immigration-policy-0463/

Migrants left to die: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/28/left-to-die-migrants-boat-inquiry

These problems are important egregious violations, and I could talk about support by the EU member nations and participation in the US’s illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that has killed upwards of a million people, but there is something closer to home that I want to focus on.

The EU financial crises is years old now, and the struggle continues as Brussels, Germany and France try to squeeze the poorer member nations for all they have. Greece, Italy and Spain among others are floundering in ridiculously high unemployment, sagging economies and corrupt governance. Hundreds and hundreds of people in countries like Spain and Greece have taken their own lives because of austerity programs that took away from them what they had worked hard their whole lives to build. Men who had worked for a lifetime found that their guaranteed pensions were being stripped away from them, leaving them with nothing to live on. The disabled and sick are left hanging as the government cuts and cuts and cuts social programs that helped these people live with a modicum of decency. Surely it was because all those social programs had bankrupted those countries, right? (this is what the right likes to bray every time you bring up the trouble in Europe) NO. It is the fault of none other than the EU itself. It brought poorer countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal under the common currency when they were not ready to do so, and created a tidal wave of economic excess. Banks borrowed at ridiculously low rates and bet on bad debt over and over again, and the whole economy was managed very very badly. A mountain of debt piled up and the banks were about to go under so the governments bailed out the bad decision making bankers and put themselves deeply into debt. The bankers, the governments made out like bandits, and the working people were thrown under the bus. Higher taxes, for less government services. That’s not fiscal responsibility, that is straight up theft from the working classes. That is reprehensible. Mothers in Greece are abandoning babies they can’t feed, homeless numbers are growing, riots in the streets and anger abounds. The EU is in the throws of a social movement that could possibly bring down the whole damn apparatus. The police hit, shoot, beat and gas protesters for expressing their anger against this travesty, and pictures of bloodied and beaten protesters abounds. Speak out against this sickening fleecing of Europe and you’re thrown in jail, kill millions of jobs and steal pensions, you’re a hero. It is down right sickening. Here’s some pictures from “peaceful” Europe:

https://i0.wp.com/www.techedon.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Athens_Greece_Riots_2012_1.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/i.ytimg.com/vi/wh0RbeZ90vk/0.jpg

http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/thumbnail.php?file=cat_117/2456.jpg&size=article_medium

This is all going on RIGHT NOW. People are suffering and dying thanks to the economic terrorism wafting out of Brussels, Berlin and Paris, and there are loads of riots and talks of war, separatist groups and economic collapse. And it is to this region, that they awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Seems legit.

Dear Europe, you don’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. You don’t deserve it because there is no justice in Europe, only class warfare. And as you may have heard before, no justice, NO PEACE.

FUCK the EU and its capitalist tyranny. End the EU and build socialism in your countries.

Also, give up on ever respecting the Nobel Peace Prize, it’s a joke and has been for some time.

It is important enough to say again:

NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE.

Who are, after all, the hoodlums?

Savas Metoikidis is the 45-year old teacher who hanged himself as a form of political protest in the evening of April 21 in his hometown of Stavroupoli, in northern Greece. What follows is a translation of a text he had penned for the uprising of December 2008 (greek original).

“Who are, after all, the hoodlums?

Violence is to work for 40 years for crumbs and to wonder whether you will get to retire.

Violence are the financial bonds, the looted insurance funds, the stock exchange scam.

Violence is to be forced to take out a mortgage which you end up paying as if it was made out of gold.

Violence is your boss’ right to sack you at any moment they please to do so.

Violence is unemployment, precarity, the 700 euros [monthly wage] with or without insurance contributions.

Violence are the labour “accidents” because bosses cut down their running costs at the expense of the safety of the workers.

Violence is to take psychiatric drugs and vitamins in order to cope with the exhaustive schedules.

Violence is for you to be a female migrant, to live with the fear that you might be kicked out of the country at any moment and to live through a constant insecurity.

Violence is for you to be a worker, housewife and mother at the same time.

Violence is for you to be groped at work and for them to tell you, ‘smile dammit, is that too much to ask?’

What we lived through I call a revolt. And just like any revolt it looks like a Civil War rehearsal; it smells of smokiness, tear gas and blood.

It cannot easily be harnessed or controlled. It ignites consciousnesses, it reveals and polarises contradictions, it promises, at least, moments of camraderie and solidarity. It traces paths toward social emancipation.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the metropolises of chaos! Install secure doors and alarm systems to your homes, turn on the TV and enjoy the spectacle. The next revolt will sure be fiercer even, as the rottenness of this society deepens… Or, you can take out to the streets on the side of your kids, you can strike, you can dare to assert the life they are robbing you of, you can remember you once were young people who wanted to change the world.”

Savas Metoikidis

Austerity: Cuts in Common Sense

The stories just keep coming back. Most of them from embattled Greece. Families, unable to care for their children, abandon them. People desperate to find work, just enough to survive, trudge home day after day with empty hands, and empty hearts. People are suffering.

I could go deeply into why, and how this has come about, but I’ll only touch on it briefly, because I want to focus on the human impact of these policies.  Greece, like many European nations it would seem, has a debt problem. Sovereign debt is high, and the governments claim that they can no longer keep up the payments on this debt. Ignoring that many of these problems came as a result of the Eurozone, and the common currency, countries like Germany and France are determined to get their pound of flesh. The IMF, in its eternally sleazy way, promises help, but only if that help doesn’t go to the poorest, neediest, and most vulnerable Greeks. Burdened with these problems, Greece’s government, with a gun to its head approved austerity measure after austerity measure. A downward spiral, killing the economy, and making things worse by the day.

What is happening to the people of Greece? How is this affecting them? It is failing, and failing with horrible consequences attached. The corporations have their field days as they lay off workers, make the remaining workers work harder, and pay them less. Those who can’t find work are finding that the social safety net is fast retreating. Pensioners who worked hard their whole lives, are finding that they are now without anything. The capitalist class lives high off the hog, while the workers pay for Europe’s mistakes, and lies.

And what has been the result of this austerity for Europe? There cutting everything they can, public workers, pensions, infrastructure, not politician’s pay of course, education et. al. The result should be a great jumping rebound of capitalism’s wonderful built in springs, right? Unsurprisingly, no. As economies shrink, more worker’s lose their jobs, the wealth gap widens, more and more people fall into poverty and despair. It has been an abject failure. Even capitalist economists are starting to realize that the austerity measures are stunting economies, destroying families, and ruining countries. So why do they keep doing it? The answer is because, as always, the rich are in control. The capitalist class sits back with their fine wine, and exquisite cigars, puffing away about how everyone needs to tighten their belts in time of crises. The crises they created. The crises they are profiting from. The crises that will only make them richer and more powerful. They sit in their ivory towers laughing at you. “Look at those little ants, running in the streets of Athens, they think if they protest hard enough we’ll let them have more money to buy food at the market, or clothes for their children.” They scoff in their protected palaces. “Let them scream all they want, let them despair, let them cry, let them rage. They can’t touch us.”

Do  you get the picture? They don’t have democracy. They don’t have a choice. They are enslaved to the money interests of European capital, chained with no chance of escape.

Imagine working hard your whole life to earn a pension to retire on. Maybe you didn’t want much. You just wanted a decent place to live, maybe near a public swimming pool, somewhere that had bowling and other activities. Let’s say you lived alone, and thought it wouldn’t take much money to survive by yourself. All you wanted was to enjoy the rest you earned after a lifetime of working so hard.

Imagine that was taken away from you. As your debts pile up, and your money dwindles, all because your pension has been wiped out by the greedy bastards who run the government, by capitalist assholes in Brussels, Berlin, and Paris. You realize that you’re going to end up penniless; you’re going to slowly starve. This isn’t a hypothetical situation. This is real life. The man I’m talking about decided to take action. Rather than lose his dignity, by becoming homeless and starving on the street in spite of a lifetime of work,  he walked in front of the Greek Parliament, the people who have completely ignored the anguished cries of the assaulted Greek people, and shot himself.

From his suicide note:

“The occupation government… has literally wiped out my ability to survive, based on a respectable pension which I had paid for during a 35-year period,” the pensioner said in an excerpt published in Greek newspapers.

“I find no other solution for a dignified end before I start sifting through garbage to feed myself,” he allegedly wrote in red ink.

Now do you understand that capitalism kills? That this is insanity? We have enough for the world, we really do. We really, really do. Capitalism gives more wealth than anyone can use to a select few, and starves the rest. The workers don’t matter, their social security doesn’t matter, they don’t matter, because to a capitalist all that matters is that his own greedy wallet gets fatter.

Hey Greece, maybe it’s time you started pointing those guns in a different direction.

Eat the rich.

Greece, the Euro zone crises

I’m back readers after a couple week hiatus. What have I been doing away from the keyboard? Just generally being busy as hell. Thank you as always to my subscribers, and all those who take the time to read my point of view. Now on to the topic at hand:

The Greek parliament passed new legislation the other instituting further austerity measures to please the lords that own them. Even though they applauded the passing of the legislation against the will of the Greek people, they still wanted more. They want greater assurances of austerity before they will allow loans that would save Greece from defaulting on more than 300 billion dollars in debt. The vultures who created the crises, are now feasting upon the rotting corpse of the Greek economy. The people are not acquiescing without a fight. Thousands filled the streets voicing their displeasure, fighting back against the capitalist class that is sacrificing the Greek people to the capitalist gods of greed and malfeasance.
Don’t be horrified by angry youths in the streets throwing Molotov cocktails, be horrified by parents giving their children to orphanages because they can no longer afford to feed and clothe them. Don’t be horrified by a mere burning building, be horrified by the wholesale theft of the Greek people’s livelihood by the jackals in Brussels, Paris and Berlin.  The Greek people’s only crime was being brought into the EU in the first place. While the rich sip their champagne and eat their caviar, celebrating stripping the poor of social safety nets, the poor despair, having nowhere else to turn. Capitalism is like a zombie, eating its own, undermining itself. They are taking away the ability of the working classes to consume, which will undermine the ability of the capitalists to profit. Capitalism will fall, and socialism will reign. All it needs is a bit of a push. Push away people of Greece, and push hard.

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