Thursday, February 16, 2006


From the BBC [full article here]

"Ambassador Moriarty said that reconciliation between the king and the mainstream parties was crucial to stop a Maoist victory.

He urged King Gyanendra to reach out to the parties and restore democracy."

Well, we know where the US falls out on this one, no surprise there.

After all, nothing screams democracy like an all-powerful king in the 21st century...or am I getting confused with the screams coming out of the "democratic" toture chambers in Iraq.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006


It's been a while since I've posted so in the future I'm gonna do more short posts more frequently. Here's the first of them...


from: Iraqi Officials Condemn Abuse Footage [get full article here]

"Video clips believed aired for the first time Wednesday showing Iraqi prisoners being abused in Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 were condemned by Iraqi officials, including one who complained that the footage would only enflame tensions in the war-ravaged country." (emphasis mine)


"Labeed Abbawi, an adviser to Iraq's foreign minister, criticized such abuses but questioned the benefit of airing footage of events for which American soldiers had already been punished." (emphasis mine)


"I feel bringing up these issues is only going to add to heat to an already fragile situation in Iraq and they don't help anybody at all," said Abbawi. "It will only lead to extra condemnation of Americans, British and later Iraqis in the situation of Jadriyah." (emphasis mine)

Hey you know what really "enflames" things? How about an unjust occupation of a third world country by an imperialist superpower, followed by a brutal, murderous occuptation involving torture that produces photos like these?


Friday, December 30, 2005


Surprise, surprise, the "anti-Maoist" movement in parts of India is a not homegrown , spontaneous phenomenon but controlled and directed by the Indian state. Not only that it's been bringing terror down on the very people it's claiming to "aid" through forced displacement, physical attacks and other means. You can read the article here.


A probe report by five human rights groups Friday said the anti-Maoist movement in Chhattisgarh was totally state-managed and "not a spontaneous tribesmen's uprising against Maoists" as was being made out by the government.

A 14-member team of five different rights groups conducted investigations into the movement, locally called 'salwa judum', in areas where it is said to have taken root like Bijapur, Geedam and Bhairamgarh blocks of the Bastar region.


In its report released Friday, the human right groups said their investigators met thousands of people, senior officers, guerrillas and political leaders and found that the "salwa judum is far from the spontaneous uprising of tribals against Maoists that it is claimed to be. It is an organised and state-managed enterprise".


Chhattisgarh's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government claims the "tribespeople of Bastar have launched a movement against Maoists and the government is just providing moral support to agitation to wipe out Maoism".

Home Minister Ramvichar Netam informed state assembly Dec 21 that 90 people were killed so far in tribesmen's anti-Maoist movement that broke out in June this year.

But the rights report said: "The salwa judum has led to the forcible displacement of people throughout Bhairamgarh, Geedam and Bijapur areas, under police and administrative supervision. Nearly 15,000 people from 420 villages are living as refugees in temporary camps," the report said.

"Villagers (were) forced to attend salwa judum meetings and those who refused to participate face repeated attacks by the combined forces of the police and the paramilitary troopers and the Naga Armed Police (NAP) deployed in the area," the report read.

"Seventy-five percent salwa judum meetings organised by the collector with the backing of troopers, the main cadre of salwa judum, comprise police officers who are being paid and armed by the state," the report added.

The human rights groups called for stopping the militarisation of society in Bastar, which was pitting tribesmen against each other as part of the anti-Maoist operation and "using people as a shield".

The groups demanded "a judicial enquiry into all killings committed by the paramilitary troopers which have gone unrecorded".


Tuesday, December 20, 2005


The monarchy in Nepal has accused the Maoists, and the seven parties aligned with them, of such horrible crimes as wanting to end the monarchy (um, it's 2005 folks) and, god forbid, "talking about democratic republic."

Read some quotes for yourself, or check out the whole article here:

"Cabinet vice-chairman Dr Tulsi Giri, in the first-ever response from the top government figure concerning the widely welcomed understanding between major political parties and the Maoists, said that the so called accord was motivated by the desire to 'overthrow monarchy.'"


Accusing the political parties of forging alliance with the Maoists for “bringing an end to autocratic monarchy”, he said, “Parties have committed a constitutional crime by talking about democratic republic even as they have vowed to abide by the Constitution.”


Monday, December 19, 2005


Here's another snippet. As a bit of an aside, the same guy, Tim Johnson, also has another article from yesterday about how people still line up in droves to see Mao's mausoleum...maybe he should have picked a different title then.




"But Mao's ideas appear to have little relevance. Long gone is the cradle-to-grave system of Spartan housing, medical care and schooling that was guaranteed to everyone after the revolution in 1949. Mao reviled capitalism and oversaw industrial and rural development based on egalitarianism and central government planning."

Yeah...housing, medical care, education...who the hell cares about that stuff any more?



This is an interesting--if different--take on China and the Mao: The Untrue Story. The author doesn't differentiate between the socialist period of Mao and the capitalist period of Deng, but still it brings out some good points. You can read the whole article here.

Post-Truthfulness: Chang & Halliday’s biography of Mao
Gwydion M Williams


Though the West now sneers at his memory, he left behind a strong unified state, a healthy well-educated population and a flourishing economy.

You’re nowadays given the impression that China was stagnating during the Cultural Revolution, and only took off economically when Deng took over. But all detailed studies of the actual economic history of 1966-76 agree that China was growing at maybe 6% a year during Mao’s last years. For an isolated mostly-agricultural economy facing the risk of invasion, this was a grand achievement. Especially since China’s norm had been changelessness.


Starting from a very low base, Mao more than tripled China’s economy during his period of rule. He did this while also uprooting ancient systems of oppression and asserting China’s status as a Great Power. And he did it without much outside help—some Russian help in the 1950s, but at a price.


With most Chinese still failing to realise that they should be ashamed of themselves, we have this year seen amazing praise in the British media for a thoroughly silly book: Mao, The Unknown Story by Jung Chang & Jon Halliday. Chang told an interesting gossipy tale in Wild Swans; but was gullible and unrealistic when not talking about family matters.

Jon Halliday is one of many former New Leftists who have ‘flipped’ since the Soviet Union collapsed. His previous books include Korea, the unknown war, which is just as silly as his Mao book, though he was then in possession of a different Eternal Truth.


Chang & Halliday generally shut you off from their sources, which are seldom quoted directly. References are haphazard and you have to guess who is the source for what.

You'd also have to trust them to have 'processed' the source in a fair and accurate manner. Some of it would be interesting, if true. But seeing what they’ve done to sources I have readily to hand, my trust is zero and every single source would need re-checking. It is part of the general pattern of Post-Truthful History, people who fit available facts into their belief-system and ignore the rest.


Sunday, December 11, 2005


Richard Pryor has died. Sadness. Here's excerpts from the Los Angeles Times article:

Richard Pryor, whose blunt, blue and brilliant comedic confrontations confidently tackled what many stand-up comics before him deemed too shocking to broach, died early Saturday. He was 65.

Pryor suffered a heart attack at his home in the San Fernando Valley. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The comedian's body of work, a political movement in itself, was steeped in race, class and social commentary, and encompassed the stage, screen, records and television. He won five Grammys and an Emmy.


"I've been trying to figure out the analogies to what Richard Pryor meant, and the closest I can come to is Miles Davis," said Reginald Hudlin, the film and TV director and president of entertainment for Black Entertainment Television. "There's music before Miles Davis, and there's music after Miles Davis. And Richard Pryor is that same kind of person.

"Every new piece kind of transformed the game," Hudlin said. "He was a culturally transcendent hero. His influence is bigger than black comedy; it's bigger than comedy. He was a cultural giant."


"He was actually one of the rare people of that era who was a product of the chitlin circuit and the white, liberal, coffee shop thing," said journalist and cultural critic Nelson George. "Where Bill Cosby immediately made it into the crossover realm … Pryor was a product of both. He was able to draw upon his kind of raw black experience through his storytelling skills, and that was accessible to a hipper white crowd. He mixed all of those things, but always had a singular vision."


Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Aside from postings criticizing Mao: The Untrue Story, I'll be postings quotes from scholars who have given the book favorable reviews.

Bob Avakian has criticized Mao for this idea of "class truth" (see Bob Avakian in a Discussion with Comrades on Epistemology-ON Knowing and Changing the World), but let's be honest: many intellectuals--many of the same who criticize the Cultural Revolution for its utilitarian approach to truth--have had their own version of "class truth"; scholars who know better are letting this horrible book get a free ride. It's been shameful how few intellectuals have stepped forward to denounce this book; it's even more shameful how many have praised it...always with one gentle criticism thrown in for good measure of course.

The first scholar I'm calling out is Michael Yahuda, a professor emeritus at the London School of Economics, and visiting scholar at George Washington University.

In his review, which reads more like a summary, he ends with the following:

"This magnificent book is not without its blemishes. There is no discussion of the quality of the sources or how they were used. The motives of people in general and of Mao in particular are asserted rather than evaluated... Nevertheless it is a stupendous work and one hopes that it will be brought before the Chinese people, who still claim to venerate the man and who have yet to come to terms with their own history, even as they require others to do so."

Well, if the book
casts "new and revealing light on nearly every episode in Mao's tumultuous life" and there's no evaluation of these so-called new sources then shouldn't you be somewhat fucking skeptical? That's a blemish!?! That's like saying the "blemish" of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is that it doesn't have endnotes.

Michael Yahuda has failed to defend his thesis, he gets an F.




From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey From Mainstream America to
Revolutionary Communist, a memoir by Bob Avakian

DECEMBER 7th, 7pm
Labyrinth Books 536 W.112th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam)

Guest Readers:

Aladdin, comedian
Gamal Chasten, Universes, playwright and poet
Joe Fortunato, attorney and member, NJ Green Party
Bill Homan, actor
Noche Lares, member Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, student
Lehman High
Justina Mejia, vocalist, poet, performance artist
Professor Neni Panourgiá, Dept of Anthropology, Columbia University
Reverend George W. Webber, President Emeritus, New York Theological

And a conversation with Raymond Lotta, Maoist political economist, and
Martha Quetzal Ceja, Managing Editor of Insight Press

Honorary Co-Hosts:
Father Luis Barrios, Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas, NY
Dennis Brutus, South African poet and former political prisoner
reg e. gaines, poet
Lister Hewan-Lowe, WBAI Burn "Baby Burn/Clappers 99.5 FM;" WUSB-FM LI
"Saturday's A Party”
Nicholas Heyward, Sr., Parents Against Police Brutality
Larry Kirwan, lead singer Black 47, playwright, novelist
Rev. Earl Kooperkamp
Father Lawrence Lucas
Jessica Care Moore, poet and publisher
Ralph Poynter
Juan Rodriguez-Munoz, Professor of Latino & Multicultural Studies
Miles Solay, Outernational
Lynne Stewart, attorney
Michael Tarif Warren, attorney
Naomi Wallace, playwright


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