Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘communism

“The Joke” by Milan Kundera (Book review, Written in March 22, 2007, before I started my blog)

Posted on October 21, 2008

Kundera was responsible for the incarceration of a citizen in the 1945 when he was a staunch communist.

He was young and his position might have changed and evolved, but it is a sign of his character and his writings do express a few of his apologies.

Ludvic Jahn was a bright student and played clarinet in Moravian folk bands. His is a staunch member of the communist party that came to power in Czechoslovakia after WWII and was attending university with prospect for higher responsibilities. 

He wrote a joke on a postcard for his girlfriend Marketa who was enjoying a “healthy atmosphere” at a training camp that says:

Optimism is the opium of the people! A healthy atmosphere stinks of stupidity! Long live Trotsky!”

Ludvic was expelled from both the university and the Party by his student colleagues; he had to do his two years military service as the enemy of the people in a brigade wearing black insignia.

He worked in the mines but was paid for his work unlike the patriots doing military service.

This brigade worked seven days a week with a one day pass every two weeks if the commander was pleased with their production and obedience. He met Lucie and fell in love with her.

Lucie left town without giving notice after she refused to have intercourse and without explaining her reluctance.

We learn later on that Lucie was with a gang in her hometown and that the gang chain-raped her, but kept hanging out with it until the police rounded up the gang for thievery.

Ludvic lived 15 years as a marginal with bitter needs for revenge on his friends who abandoned him, especially Zemaneck whom he thought would defend his case but turned out to be the most virulent opponent.

Ludvic returns to his hometown in order to meet Helena, the wife of Zemaneck, who was falling in love with him and didn’t know that her husband knew Ludvic or the schemes of the latter.

Ludvic wanted revenge on Zemaneck through his wife, but Zemaneck would not care less because he had another young girlfriend and going with the flow of the new generation who didn’t care of what happened during the early communist take over of power.

It dawned on Ludvic that it was too late to physically hit Zemanek: he should have done it when he was castrated from the Party instead of wasting 15 years in bitterness and failing to take care of the present.

The 3 harrowing days that Ludvic spent in his hometown opened his soul to new facts and new realities.

Ludvic has been rationalizing his behavior toward Lucie as “a function of his own situation” when he needed understanding and tenderness in his military service stint and, as adolescent behavior wearing masks to overcome their shyness and uncertainty, he failed to ask questions with the purpose of understanding the real Lucie and her predicaments.

Lucie used to gather flowers and roses from the cemetery to offer them to Ludvic when he was on leave; she used to stand outside the fence of the camp waiting for her Ludvic to steal a few minutes and talk with her.

Communism had the spirit of the great religious movements: it had religious gestures and feelings but remained empty and godless within.

Communism tried to supplant religious faith by adopting the same rites camouflaged in secular mass ceremonies and practiced excommunication extensively in the name of “the historical optimism of the victorious working class” and delivered by the youth instead of professional, matured, and responsible people.

The Marxist teachings were secular in origin, but the significance assigned them was similar to the significance of the Gospel and religious commandments. 

They have created a range of ideas that are practically untouchable, thus sacred.

For example, is the case of young Alexej who was banished to the black insignia brigade because his father stood trial as enemy of the people. He still thought and acted as a communist because “we are responsible for everything that goes in the camp” and he felt free enough to act like a communist by sending letters to the higher-ups condemning the camp commander’s behaviors as counterrevolutionary.

Alexej was twenty, an adolescent and his destiny hung on him like a giant’s clothes on a tiny body, and Alexej committed suicide by swallowing an overdose of medicines.  

Although communism was a cruel religion, it was better than the new era of mockery, skepticism, and the mob of youth, coarse, cynical, and nasty, without enthusiasm or ideals.

This mob of incomplete youth is compelled to play-act as fully grown, adopting forms, patterns, models that please and enact them; the more the youth is aware of his boyish appearance, the more fanatical his devotion to the role of superman and the more forced is his performance.

Kundera views youth as terrible and that history often was the playground for the immature Bonaparte, Nero, and the likes whose simulated passion and simplistic poses metamorphose into a catastrophic real reality.

As Ray Bradbury said in his novel Fahrenheit 451: “Those who don’t build must burn; it’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents.”

Note: Finished reading the book on Tuesday October 21, 2008

Can Capitalism be reformed? Part 1 of 4

Capitalism is based on four  foundations:

1. Private property of means of production;

2. free exchange (products, services…);

3. open free market for commerce;

4. and availability of a vast pool of people willing to work for salary.

The main driving force is that the owner of the means of production (the bank, the partners, the shareholder, or the family)  should earn as much as the total salary that all workers receive.

Consequently, an employee is hired when the owner can generate profit, at least as equal to the total salary of the hired worker. Actually, members of the Board of Directors, owners of majority of share, and the highest in the hierarchy get first cut on 20% of the total revenue, and not on the gross profit basis as employees, workers…have to negotiate on.

The foundations of capitalism have proven not to function except within strong State institutions, which are almost totally controlled by the capitalist classes.

The judicial system obeys laws decreed by parliaments that are dominated by the richest classes, and the executive is intrinsically dominated by the aristocratic class.

This whole political system is called “capitalist democracy“, where people have the illusion of electing their representatives for a duration.  After election, people are to behave as spectators:  Any serious disturbances are crushed in the name of Law and Order.

Communism tried to abolish the first foundation by claiming that all means of production belong to the State (community property of means of production was a smoke screen and never taken seriously).  Communism also abolished the notion of internal market free exchange by the communes and State institutions:  the central plan or economic program for five years must be met at any cost to pain, suffering, and famine of the population.

Communism went even a step further by eliminating the right of citizens to quit the factory assigned to, move, and relocate to other places in the nation.  Basically, communism drastic economic ideology ended up destroying the foundations of capitalism until it was too late to changing people’s inclination to relying completely on State planning and resource distribution.

In this century, Western European States learned to reform capitalism by involving the government in instituting equitable wealth disparity (tax increase on the rich), encouraging barons of industries to negotiating seriously with syndicates, regulating the liberty of patrons in firing employees, and supporting unemployed until they find a substitute job.  These European economic capitalist systems are labelled “socio-democratic capitalism“.

China has reformed its communist economy one step at a time.  First, it allotted lands to family peasants to exchange the produce with the community; it worked and frequent famine occurrences receded.  Then, communist China allowing private ownership of means of production (and the subsequent financial facility supports) and then encouraging limited internal free exchange and commerce.  Workers are still not free to choosing where to work and to moving to other cities:  Movement of people are regulated.

Rural China is paying the heavy tax in hunger and suffering from the diversion of water and electrical power to the cities and industries and the building of giant projects that pollute and contaminate water resources.

The one foundation that all developed economic systems share is free global trade, which means the liberty to exploiting the developing countries in natural resources and cheap labor.  The developed States are allowed to subsidize their agriculture but the developing nations are not to do it and they cannot even if they witness the need to do it .  The developed States are to flood the markets of developing countries with affordable products with no “legal rights” for the developing nations to increasing import taxes in order to safeguarding their own means of productions.

The developed States can find financial resources at low-interest rates but not the developing nations.  In return for blatant exploitation, the developed States agree “voluntarily” to setting aside a small fraction of their GNP to developing the infrastructures in the poorer States; mainly, self-serving their interests to improving and facilitating exploitation efficiently.

Worst, all “international” institutions such as World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Commerce Trades are dominated by the US and a few European States; thus, transparency and access to timely information and intelligence data are denied the developing nations, or leaked slowly after persistent demand from conscious States.

Fact is, financial institutions (banks, insurance companies…) are the real owner of means of production in capitalist systems.  They own 30% of the total wealth of a nation and represent only 1% of the population.

This is NOT acceptable.  Fact is, financial institutions generate three times more money than the combined tax collected by the government.

This is NOT acceptable.  Any reforms should first target the level of profit that financial institutions are permitted to generate.  “Effective” interest rates should be lowered accordingly and tougher regulations imposed of these behemoths.  Community banks with excellent transparency in decision process and lending policies should be the norm.  The current status of financial institutions is generating abnormal profit with no risks whatsoever.

If capitalism needs salaried people it must secure the fundamental right to work, a wide range of jobs that satisfy varied opportunity, access to affordable education, safe workplace, universal health coverage, caring for the elderly, and justice for people who worked most of their life for a comfortable retreat.  Has capitalism satisfied the basic needs of its workforce?

States should start taxing according to the number of employees hired and to net revenue:  These two criteria are the most objective representatives of net profit and are easy to investigate and account for.

This gimmick of taxing on “net profit” is an accounting fraud that is not objective or fair.  Companies relocating for cheaper workers must be taxed according to the original “national wages” of the workers.  Companies substituting workers for robots should be taxed according to the number of workers substituted.  States will then be able to subsidize unemployed people until they find jobs and be imaginative enough to opening up newer job opportunities.

There is a trend for owners with strong ethics and moral to including employees as shareholders and participating in management decisions:  These companies are doing very well and not suffering from financial crashes.  Institutions and companies for profit are amoral and do not deal in ethical conducts.

Ethics and morality are individual characteristics:  the more such individuals gather in groups to reclaiming fairness and justice in actions the more institutions will be reminded of what is best for society.

The crux for any serious changes in capitalist system is revamping the election laws and processes that will extend much better odds for middle and lower classes to being elected into representative chambers.  (To be continued)

The Century of Islam, (March 11, 2009)

 

The 20th century was the communist century, particularly of the Soviet Union and China, as the nemesis for the liberal and capitalist world. 

The 21st century was predicted to be the century of Liberal Capitalist America after the fall of the Berlin Wall: “Liberal capitalism” was advancing globalization and the free flow of capitals to national markets by international financial companies. The prediction of the end of “History” and the implementation of US-type of “democracy”quickly ended with the worst financial crisis of all time (2008), and the emergence of many players in world economics and politics. 

 

 After the September 9, 2001 Twin Towers attack, supposedly planned by al Qaeda, the Bush Jr. Administration spewed his venom for a decade on Islam, as the major enemy to democracy and a stable world order.

This century is showing the definite characteristics that it is of Islam. 

The superpowers have targeted Islam to be the main nemesis for stable world order: 

The superpowers need to create a focused enemy for its people.

Before I broach on current events and realities, a little history is in point.  Islam was the world civilization for over 9 centuries.  Three centuries of Eastern Arab Empire that was first located in Damascus and then in Baghdad.  The Arab/Islam Empire shifted its center of gravity in the next two centuries to the west or the Maghreb Empire, and particularly in Spain or Andalusia.  

Two centuries of Islamic domination were marshaled by the Ottoman Moslem Empire in Turkey in the 16th and 17th centuries; another two centuries of the Moslem Mogul Empire in India, and one century of the Islamic Safavid Empire in Iran in the 18th century. 

These civilizations waned after Portugal and Spain circumnavigated the Oceans to bypass Egypt for direct trade with India and Far East Asia. In fact, the various Crusaders campaigns failed because they could not conquer Egypt, where the major trade routes intersected before reaching Europe, the main target and purpose of the crusaders financial backers.  Christian Europe owes it to the Moslem Empires to be saved from the multitudes of invasions originated in Mongolia and Central Asia by the Mogul and Tatar hordes.

 

After the Indonesian dictator Suharto died, his successor Bahr el Din Habibi invested over one billion dollars to develop a small civilian airplane.  The “Financial Times” mocked the new President for investing on airplanes that can be purchased with much higher quality and performance. The West was purposely belittling what they perceived as the new challenges coming from the largest Moslem Nation in matter of knowledge and technology. Habibi meant to build new generations of Moslems that can manufacture instead of being simple consumers.  Habibi said “Money comes and goes. Human brains can be purchased but how can we secure loyalty to a nation and to citizens?”

            The Ottoman Empire was later weakened by relying too heavily on its mercenaries the “Inkisharia” (soldiers raised from foreign slaves), the Arab Empire was destroyed from the interior by relying on foreign mercenaries.

            Pakistan had to build the first Moslem atomic bomb in order to challenge India’s bomb.  As Zhu Fikar Ali Bhutto said “we will have to build the atomic bomb even if we end up eating grass”. Actually, Bhutto was overthrown and put to death because he challenged the West for building the bomb.

            Iran is facing constant pressure from the West for manufacturing its own arms, munitions, missiles, atomic power generators, and space satellites.

            India has more Moslems than Pakistan, Indonesia, and Egypt combined.  The middle classes of Indian Moslems and Chinese Moslems are nearly as large as the total USA population.

            Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, and Nigeria are almost continents of their own in size and populations and they are acting and behaving as self-sufficient nations. 

The West has to start trading knowledge and technologies without any pre-conditions if it seeks peace, security, stability, and prosperity.  War is a losing option for both parties and no one can hope to emerge winner anyway

I have mentioned in several articles that the five nations in the UN with veto power are negotiating to partition Sudan for its huge raw materials, oil reserves, and water resources.  This adventure is doomed to fail unless they negotiate a fair deal with the people in Sudan and the most populous Moslem nations in Africa such as Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya in Africa.

Note 1: The “Arab Spring” revolts against dictators and absolute monarchies have set the tone for democratic systems in the Arabic States.  The major underlying factor for this mass indignity is the realization that western governments encouraged dictator and absolute monarchy regimes for an entire century in order to maintaining the “Moslem” people subjugated and unable to grow and develop. 

Note 2: Sudan had a referendum for partition, but it does not seem that problems will vanish any time soon in Sudan:  The exploitation of oil and mineral resources will resume unabated, and turmoil in north and south Sudan will be enhanced even further.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2021
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