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Old 06-09-16, 09:31 PM   #126
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/venezuel...r-diving-food/

Venezuela's middle class is dumpster diving for food

June 8, 2016

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Until recently, Julio Noguera worked at a bakery. Now he spends his evenings searching through the garbage for food.

"I come here looking for food because if I didn't, I'd starve to death," Noguera said as he sorted through a pile of moldy potatoes.
"With things like they are, no one helps anyone and no one gives away meals."

Across town, unemployed people converge every dusk at a trash heap on a downtown Caracas sidewalk to pick through rotten fruit and vegetables tossed out by nearby shops. They are frequently joined by small business owners, college students and pensioners - people who consider themselves middle class even though their living standards have long ago been pulverized by triple-digit inflation, food shortages and a collapsing currency.

Venezuela's poverty had eased during the administration of the late President Hugo Chavez. But a study by three leading Caracas universities found that 76 percent of Venezuelans are now under the poverty line, compared with 52 percent in 2014.

Staples such as corn flour and cooking oil are subsidized, costing pennies at the strongest of two official exchange rates. But fruit and vegetables have become an unaffordable luxury for many Venezuelan families.

"We're seeing terrible sacrifices across many sections of society," said Carlos Aponte, a sociology professor at the Central University of Venezuela. "A few years ago, Venezuela didn't have the kind of extreme poverty that would drive people to eat garbage."

While some search through the garbage piles for food they can eat, many more are drawn by the opportunity to fetch a few bolivar bills by rescuing and reselling bruised produce.

On a recent evening, Noguera managed to retrieve a dozen potatoes.

"I'm a trained baker, but right now there's no work anywhere here. So I make do with this," he said.

The trash pickers aren't just people who've lost their jobs.

Jhosriana Capote, a vocational student, comes to the trash heap to supplement her pantry. She recently completed an internship with a Coca-Cola subsidiary.

"I used to be able to find food, but not anymore. Everything is lines," she said after an evening picking through the refuse.

Dumpster diving isn't a new phenomenon in Venezuela, but it is a growing one. Venezuela was once the richest nation in South America, but a fall in oil prices combined with other economic problems has sparked desperation.

Nearly half of Venezuelans say they can no longer afford to eat three meals a day, according to a recent poll by the local firm Venebarometro. The poll surveyed 1,200 adults at their homes the first week in April and had a margin of error of plus or minus of about 2 percentage points.

The government blames the political opposition, accusing it of waging an "economic war" to stir unrest and oust President Nicolas Maduro from power. The administration has launched an aggressive program to build urban farms in an effort to address food shortages.

One recent night, two young girls found some cilantro, lemons and remains of a cabbage in the garbage. Their mother, Monica Espinosa, said the scavenging helps them get by since her husband walked out on the family. Espinosa said she still owns two apartments, but makes ends meet by cooking sauces from the vegetables she finds and selling them to stores, earning about $6 a week.

"I'm a single mother with two children, and this is helping me get by," she said.
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Old 06-21-16, 09:29 PM   #127
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

A country with the largest oil reserves in the world, and this is what socialists can do to it in just a few years:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/20/wo...tion.html?_r=0
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Old 06-21-16, 10:13 PM   #128
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

I don't think it was just a few years. The problem started under Chavez, but it was masked by higher oil prices.
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Old 08-14-17, 08:12 PM   #129
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Since I guess this thread is now a general referendum on all things socialism, I wanted to address this post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by grundle View Post
I'm more interested in the real world results than I am in the theory.

I wonder what Karl Marx would think of his philosophy if he were alive today. Would he still support it, or would he admit that he made a huge mistake?

Without private property rights, no other rights are possible. Your body and your mind belong to you. Your body and your mind are your only sources of labor. Since your body and your mind belong to you, the labor that you produce with your body and your mind also belongs to you. Since your labor belongs to you, you have the right to sell your labor to anyone who is willing to buy it. The money that you get from selling your labor belongs to you. The things that you buy with this money belong to you. These things are your private property. Therefore, private property results from the fact that your body and your mind belong to you. If there is no such thing as private property, then your body and your mind do not belong to you. Without private property rights, no other rights are possible. The right to freedom speech, freedom of religion, the right to choose where you live, the right to choose the best employer that you can find, are all impossible if there are no private property rights.
This is a gross misunderstanding of Marxism. Marxists make a distinction between personal property (my record collection) and private property (my factory that produces records). Socialists have no problem with personal property (which includes your mind and body) but have a lot of problems with private ownership of the means of production.

You say you have the right to sell your labor. Socialism argues for a system where you do not sell your labor, because all the laborers own the means of production. Selling your labor means you are being exploited, because the capitalists who buy your labor must pay you less than the value of your labor in order to turn a profit.

Your comment implies that only capitalism allows for freedom of speech and all the rest, which is not only untrue, it's hilariously false propaganda.
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Old 08-14-17, 08:19 PM   #130
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Supermallet, quite some time ago in this thread, you said:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/12022824-post53.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Amazing how someone who consistently misunderstands everything he reads can be so prescient about world affairs.
And then I responded with this:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/12027010-post58.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by grundle View Post
Since you think I am wrong, please explain what those articles really mean.
You have still not explained what those articles really mean.

I'm curious to hear you explain what those articles really mean.

I am bumping this thread because of a recent (current?) discussion between you and me about Marxism that took place in a different thread, that was not supposed to be about Marxism. It's better that we talk about it here than over there.

Here are some of our relevant posts from that other thread.

You said:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/13134280-post3815.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Marxism is not an oppressive ideology. In fact, Marxism is specifically about liberating the vast majority of people across the globe, the working class, and empowering them with greater liberty, economic ability, and power than they have ever known at any other point in history.
And then I responded with this:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/13134630-post3888.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by grundle View Post
That is certainly the claimed intent of Marxists.

But the real world results of Marxism have resulted in far more murder, death, and suffering than fascism and Naziism.

Immigration patterns prove that no one wants to live in a Marxist country. Even the people in non-Marxist countries who claim to support Marxism don't immigrate to Marxist countries. Meanwhile, the people who do live in Marxist countries do whatever they can to leave, even to the point of risking their lives on homemade boats that are likely to sink, or running through open fields to try to cross the border even though there are armed guards who have been ordered to shoot and kill anyone who tries to flee.
I'm curious to hear your response to that.


.

Also in that other thread, Mabuse said:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/13134329-post3829.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
We have our problems, but I can name no other that is greater. Nor can you, or you would.
Then you said: (the bolding is mine)

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/13134335-post3832.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
None without their faults, but Canada, Australia, Venezuela under Chavez, China under Mao, the USSR under Lenin, just to name a few.
Then I said:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/13134653-post3893.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by grundle View Post
Those are the two biggest mass murderers of innocent civilians in history.

There are huge numbers of refugees, immigrants, and relatives of murder victims who would be in absolute shock to read your comment.
I'm curious to hear your response to that as well.

.

Also in that thread, you said:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/13134663-post3896.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Grundle, I'm not interested in your one man war on Marxism, nor in your failing attempts to claim any sort of moral high ground after your victim blaming comments in this very thread (while giving passes to white men multiple times over in other threads). You clearly view the world through a very strong right wing ideological lens, which is exacerbated by your inability to discern propaganda from fact. You can bump the Venezuela thread and if I have something to say about it in that thread, I will. Beyond that, please stop cluttering up this one with off topic comments and I promise to do the same.
And then I said:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/13134685-post3898.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by grundle View Post
I am not waging "war" against Marxism.

Instead, I am simply interested in the real world results of Marxism.

I am interested in facts, not in propaganda.

My "very strong right wing ideological lens" thinks that abortion, gay marriage, and drugs should be legal, and believes in biological evolution and manmade global warming.

I don't give passes to white men. I do believe that people of all races have the right to defend themselves from people who repeatedly slam their head into the concrete.

I do not claim to have the "moral high ground."

I'm curious to hear your response to that as well.

So I have copied our posts form that other thread into this thread, which I am bumping.

Last edited by grundle; 08-14-17 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 08-14-17, 08:29 PM   #131
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

It's difficult to discuss socialism with you when you have a severe misunderstanding of its most basic tenets. Further your entire life, you've been fed anti-socialist, pro-capitalist propaganda. Either way, I began replying in the post above yours, so we can start there.
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Old 08-14-17, 08:42 PM   #132
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Since I guess this thread is now a general referendum on all things socialism, I wanted to address this post:



This is a gross misunderstanding of Marxism. Marxists make a distinction between personal property (my record collection) and private property (my factory that produces records). Socialists have no problem with personal property (which includes your mind and body) but have a lot of problems with private ownership of the means of production.

You say you have the right to sell your labor. Socialism argues for a system where you do not sell your labor, because all the laborers own the means of production. Selling your labor means you are being exploited, because the capitalists who buy your labor must pay you less than the value of your labor in order to turn a profit.

Your comment implies that only capitalism allows for freedom of speech and all the rest, which is not only untrue, it's hilariously false propaganda.

I now see that you beat me to bumping this thread. Good for you!

The Communist Manifesto states:

http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/61/pg61-images.html

"In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property."

The complete text of the book is at that link. If you can find an exception that allows personal property, please quote it.

I support a worker's right to sell his labor to the highest bidder, whether that bidder be a communist government, or a private company.

In the real world, whenever a country abolished communism and allowed private companies to hire workers, workers chose to work for the private companies because the wages and working conditions at the private companies were far better.

I predict that when the U.S. embargo against Cuba is ended, and Cubans have the choice to work for U.S. corporations, they will choose to work for the U.S. corporations because the pay and working conditions will be so much better.

This is what happened when Vietnam allowed Nike to open up a factory:

Quote:
https://www.spectator.co.uk/2003/06/...-feat-of-nike/

But when I talk to a young Vietnamese woman, Tsi-Chi, at the factory, it is not the wages she is most happy about. Sure, she makes five times more than she did, she earns more than her husband, and she can now afford to build an extension to her house. But the most important thing, she says, is that she doesn’t have to work outdoors on a farm any more… 10 to 14 hours a day in the burning sun or the intensive rain, in rice fields with water up to your ankles and insects in your face.
Wow! That's awesome!

I trust Tsi-Chi to make her own decision about which job is best for her. She seems very happy with her decision.

Marxists do not trust Tsi-Chi to make her own decision about which job is best for her. Marxists want to make that decision for her.

The same article continues:

Quote:
The most persistent demand Nike hears from the workers is for an expansion of the factories so that their relatives can be offered a job as well.
Wow! That's amazing!

Right now in Cuba, the average worker employed by the Cuban government makes about $20 a month. If and when the embargo ends, U.S. corporations will attract those workers by offering them far higher wages. And the Marxists in the U.S., who never complained about Cubans making $20 a month under communism, will hypocritically complain that the newer, higher wages paid by U.S. corporations are "exploitative."

I trust workers to choose the employer that they believe is best for them.

Marxists do not trust workers to make this decision, and want to make it for them.

Last edited by grundle; 08-14-17 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 08-14-17, 08:48 PM   #133
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Wait. So when Fleetwood Mac wrote and recorded Rumors, who should have been paid, and what amount?
Choose among:

Those who wrote the songs
Those who played the music and sang
Those who manned the recording equipment
Those who owned the recording equipment
Those who purchased the time in the studio to record the album
Those who supplied food to the artists and technicians each day
Those who cleaned us at then end of the recording day

Should they all be paid the same? If so, why? If not, why not?
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Old 08-14-17, 08:58 PM   #134
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
Wait. So when Fleetwood Mac wrote and recorded Rumors, who should have been paid, and what amount?
Choose among:

Those who wrote the songs
Those who played the music and sang
Those who manned the recording equipment
Those who owned the recording equipment
Those who purchased the time in the studio to record the album
Those who supplied food to the artists and technicians each day
Those who cleaned us at then end of the recording day

Should they all be paid the same? If so, why? If not, why not?


They should be paid whatever they can get, based on voluntary contractual agreements.

Had they been born in a communist country, they probably would have fled, or at least tried to flee, to a country that was not communist.

Under communism, all workers get the same low salary, regardless of their jobs. In Cuba, there are people with engineering degrees who choose to work in the private sector as taxi drivers, because the private sectors pays them more as a cab driver for one day, than the government paid them as an engineer for an entire month.
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Old 08-14-17, 09:00 PM   #135
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Re: Venezuela Protests of 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
It's difficult to discuss socialism with you when you have a severe misunderstanding of its most basic tenets. Further your entire life, you've been fed anti-socialist, pro-capitalist propaganda. Either way, I began replying in the post above yours, so we can start there.
Once again, you say that I am wrong, but you refuse to tell me what those articles really mean.

I have zero problem with you telling me that I wrong. What I do have a problem with is that you refuse to tell me what those articles really mean.

Last edited by grundle; 08-14-17 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 08-14-17, 09:12 PM   #136
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Re: Venezuela Protests of 2014

Supermallet

This is a Washington Post article from 2009.

Since you think my interpretation of this article is wrong, please tell me what the bolded parts really mean.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...061903400.html

In Venezuela, Land 'Rescue' Hopes Unmet

By Juan Forero

Washington Post Foreign Service

Saturday, June 20, 2009

LAS VEGAS, Venezuela -- Dreaming of a new life, Ramón Barrera came to El Charcote, a vast farm here in northwestern Venezuela, several years after President Hugo Chávez's populist government had expropriated the property from its longtime owners and begun distributing parcels to small farmers like him to work.

Six months after he arrived, Barrera's dream is still just a dream -- his 37 acres are fallow, so he spends his time feeding grain to nine scrawny pigs. He and other farmers trying to earn a living on the farm's sunbaked expanse said the technical help they had been promised never materialized.

"Things are serious here. There is no water, no electricity, no comforts," said Barrera, 64. "There is no credit. There is nothing. How are people supposed to work?"


Chávez's so-called back-to-the-land movement calls for the redistribution of land -- increasingly properties that the state has taken over in what officials term a "rescue" or "recuperation." The objective is to ensure "food sovereignty," thereby reducing dependence on imports.

But nearly five years after the measures were implemented nationwide, farmers and agriculture experts say, Venezuela is not only far from self-sufficient in food, but also more dependent than ever on foreign countries. Food imports rose to $7.5 billion last year, a sixfold increase since Chávez took power a decade ago.

That has not stopped the government from accelerating its policy of dismantling big haciendas, holdings that officials often describe as unproductive. Owners are compensated, unless authorities accuse them of having acquired their properties illegally. Those who take over are promised courses in farming; some are settled in newly built communes. The policy is rooted in a 2001 law and driven by Chávez's insistence that the land belongs to everyone.

"I say to all who say they own land: In the first place, that land is not yours. The land is not private. It is the property of the state," Chávez said last month on an episode of his weekly television show broadcast from rural Barinas state, where he grew up.

"The land is for those who work it," the president said, adding that those who do not produce lose "their right to occupy the land." Chávez then turned to Agriculture Minister Elías Jagua, seated among Chávez's red-shirted supporters in the audience, and said, "That is what the law is for, Elías, unbending.

"Today we are going to recuperate other lands," he added. "Give me the list to announce it at once before it gets late." He then checked off one farm after another, while his ministers applauded.

Among the once-productive farms put out of business earlier this decade was this 33,606-acre ranch in Cojedes state owned by the Vestey Group, a British company. El Charcote used to turn out 3.3 million pounds of beef a year, making it one of the country's top 10 producers. Today, the 13,000 head of cattle that once roamed here are gone.

The small farmers working the property have a few cows, but those animals, and the small corn patches here and there, are mainly for personal use. New farm machinery, painted the government's trademark red, gathers dust in a lot on the outskirts of this town.

"If there is a word to describe all this, it is 'stagnant,' " said Carlos Machado, an agriculture expert at the Institute of Higher Administrative Studies in Caracas and a former agricultural consultant for the Organization of American States. "The government policy to increase the crop production in the country is a complete failure."

The Agriculture Ministry and the National Land Institute did not respond to requests for interviews.

Officials, including Chávez, had previously announced that they have taken over more than 5 million acres of land -- a total area bigger than New Jersey -- and have increased the amount of land under cultivation and provided thousands of Venezuelans with new livelihoods. Agriculture experts also confirm increased production of fruit, including pineapples, melons and bananas, since the measures were implemented.

But production of some of the mainstays of Venezuelan agriculture -- beef, rice, sugar cane, milk -- has fallen off, economists and food producers say. They attribute the contraction to the chilling effects of the land-confiscation program and government-set price controls. With consumption increasing, food prices have soared in Caracas, and there have been occasional scarcities.

In Aragua, a leading agricultural state that is a bastion of support for Chávez, farmers have been bracing since the government began in recent weeks to expropriate the properties of big cane producers.

On a recent day, Vicente Lecuna, whose family has owned the Santa Clara farm in Aragua since the 1890s, scrambled from one office to the next looking for paperwork.

Expropriations, he knew, often begin after authorities demand to see titles going back to the early 1800s -- documents many farmers are unable to assemble. That prompts the state to declare that somewhere in the ownership chain the land was illegally acquired.

Already, the state's land agency has taken a portion of the 2,300-acre farm, uprooting cane and preparing the soil for corn. "This isn't land for corn," Lecuna said, sounding exasperated. "In this region, corn has never been planted."

Nelson Fernández, 62, who oversees sugar cane cultivation for Lecuna, appeared incredulous as he told how government officials had arrived on a recent day and announced that the Santa Clara was not productive. That was a pretext for the intervention, he said.

"These people know nothing about agriculture," he said.

Just weeks ago, authorities seized nearly 20 farms in Aragua, triggering panic among farm owners, said Juan Dos Santos, director of Punta Larga, which owned the Tamarindo sugar cane plantation. Though the company filed reams of paperwork with a local court to prove ownership and the farm's productivity, Dos Santos said, authorities seized the farm in March.

"In our case, we had lots of infrastructure, an irrigation system, a service road, electricity, warehouses, machinery," he said, adding that Punta Larga had invested $18 million in the property.

"We presume it was because it was a well-developed hacienda," he said of the confiscation.

Similar measures have been tried before in Latin America, where the struggle over land has led to civil wars and simmering violence from Central America to Colombia to Brazil. In most cases, the so-called reforms have failed to spur production.

Felicia Escobar, a lawyer and consultant on land issues who used to work for the Agriculture Ministry, said land redistribution has failed across the continent because farmers are not given incentives to produce and governments have not provided adequate credit or technical assistance.

She said that in Venezuela, the new farmers are not even given title to the lands they occupy. In some cases, they are grouped into communes and expected to work as a unit, with little stake in their plots.

"That is socialism," she said. "It did not work before, and it does not work now."

Here in Las Vegas, on what's left of the Vestey hacienda, the new tenants said they remain firm supporters of the government as they attempt to make a go of farming.

María Rosario Chirinos, 40, said she worked in a small shop before she was assigned a plot of land, which she is planting with corn. "My dream was to have a little piece of land, to survive, because I had nothing," she said.

But just down the road, César Alviares, 50, who also supports Chávez, said he is barely getting by raising a few cows and chickens. The crops he tried to grow all failed, he said, because he never received credit or technical help to control flooding.

"I put in two hectares of yucca plants -- the water came and finished them off," he said. "I put in a hectare of bananas -- the water came and finished them off. The corn, all of it. So in the end, I just have pasture."

Last edited by grundle; 08-14-17 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 08-14-17, 09:14 PM   #137
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Supermallet

Here's another article that I posted earlier in this thread.

Since you think my interpretation of this article is wrong, please tell me what the bolded parts really mean.


https://panampost.com/valerie-marsma...-in-venezuela/

What Seven Hours of Waiting Will Get You in Venezuela

August 19, 2015

Take a Walk Down the Atrocity Covered in Wallpaper

"The simplest explanation is usually the correct one." ~ Occam’s razor

"Why can’t you get things? It is very difficult to explain. I understand you are upset, but you can’t give the oligarchy the upper hand. It’s a matter of being united … another economy is an option, the community economy, the one stemming from small producers … do not give these racketeers (the entrepreneurs) resources. You have to wait in line with us as well, but at least in the end you don’t pay as much."

The above message is meant for Venezuelans, who — though bogged down by out-of-hand inflation, alarming scarcity, and despair over what might come next — choose to attend “community provision” days.

On Saturday morning, my sister-in-law decided to go to one of these events in a poor neighborhood in the heart of Caracas. She did it because organizers had announced that meat, fish, deli meats, and chicken would be available. She arrived at 6 in the morning, was given number 250, and waited in line for seven hours.

To appease my curiosity, I joined her for the final two-hour stretch.

The following is an attempt to describe what the common Venezuelan experiences at this type of event nowadays. I say it’s an “attempt,” because finding the precise words is no easy task. And I haven’t been able to find a better description, a better title, than one that pretty much works for nearly all — if not all — Chavista initiatives: an atrocity wallpapered in propaganda.

The intentions behind the community provision day are clear at the door. Placards with photos of presidents Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro posted at the entrance say: “If it wasn’t for them, this sale would not have been possible.”

The same is going on inside. There is not a single square meter in the crumbling warehouse that doesn’t show either a picture of Chávez and Maduro, a quote from Chávez, or a picture of Chávez with Fidel Castro.
The latter perhaps is an attempt to justify the photos of Maduro sitting with Castro in Havana on the 89th birthday of the caudillo, amid the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

Maduro didn’t go on his own; his wife and other officials went with him. Presumably, he charged the expenses to taxpayer funds from the country in which cancer patients — children — have to leave the hospital to protest in the street because they don’t have access to chemotherapy.

“You will be able to buy fish; the meat truck did not come, since it overturned on the way here … inside you will find corvina, white snapper, sardine, mackerel,” says one of the organizers. Here’s the first disappointment: there’s no meat, or sausage, or chicken, and no corvina or snapper, the only good white fish. Instead we must settle for mackerel and sardines, and at not much of a discount (half price relative to regular supermarkets).

The second disappointment: once you enter the warehouse there is no direct access to shopping. Instead there is a new group of chairs. Here, people are made to hear the monologue you have read at the top of the page.

Applause comes only from those who organized the operation, a community council from the area. Apathy reigns among the rest of the audience, and animosity clearly sets in among most, when they see what they can buy: ugly, green potatoes (one kilo per person, hand picked by the person handing them to you); carrots (about the same); some tomatoes that cause a reaction somewhere between repulsion and shame — while boxes of beautiful red tomatoes remain stacked against a wall.

“When will you sell those?” I ask. “Later,” they reply. I suspect they’ll sell those on the side, on the black market, and I’m not alone in my suspicion. The peppers are shamefully small. I get three micro-peppers, no more.

I can also get juices and oatmeal drinks (not milk, which is scarce), which Los Andes produces. The government has expropriated this previously ubiquitous brand, so now you can only find their products at this type of operation. Please click the link, so you can see what this dairy company’s website is for: propaganda again.

At that moment, a woman with a megaphone yells: “these are the achievements of the communal economy. We are growing.”

Raúl Castro used to say “each day, Venezuela and Cuba are becoming more and more the same.” That was in 2010, and even the most feverish mind could not have imagined an experience like the one I had on a Saturday morning. But he was telling the truth. If this is what socialism can offer, we are going to starve.

People begin to show their anger, but in a low grumble: “this is no good,” “I can’t have lost a morning for this.”


Nobody revolts, though. They know that such a person would be an “enemy of the nation,” and therefore subject to being thrown in jail, just like in any other good old fascist state. Complaining in the queue is rebellion, and the government, though inefficient in everything else, is plenty efficient at repression.

Notwithstanding, the country’s general disposition is prone to an impending uprising. Human-rights NGO Provea has been warning about it for a while; President Maduro knows. Even the community council know, though they said, as if to excuse themselves: “No one can despair. It is time to be united. We are facing an economic war. It is very difficult to explain.”

Of course it’s difficult to explain. It is very difficult to explain how the largest petrol boom in the nation’s history ended up in this shipwreck; this “Haiti” sans the earthquake. How does one explain the riches of the Chavista nomenklatura? How could anyone explain to the people waiting in line for six hours that the meat and chicken didn’t arrive, and that they will have to settle for a very few, rotten vegetables?

How long can this go on? It seems uncertain, but I don’t think the people will take it for much longer. It’s clear there is no food.

It is very difficult to explain socialism, simply because it has never worked anywhere. On the other hand, capitalism can explain itself. It’s as easy as what a certain lady said to me: “30 years ago, there was a supermarket here, and you could choose what you wanted and pay cheap for it.”

Mind you, the Venezuela back then wasn’t paradise. Yet this one, compared to that one, is definitely hell on earth. They are trying, in the most miserable, despicable way possible to tie hunger to votes, but using such bad food that the propaganda becomes anything but. It’s anti-propaganda.

Editor’s note: the author of this article expressly asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.
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Old 08-14-17, 09:18 PM   #138
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Supermallet

This is a New York Times article.

Since you think my interpretation of this article is wrong, please tell me what the bolded parts really mean.


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/16/wo...hospitals.html

Dying Infants and No Medicine: Inside Venezuela’s Failing Hospitals



May 15, 2016

BARCELONA, Venezuela — By morning, three newborns were already dead.

The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward.

Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns had died.

“The death of a baby is our daily bread,” said Dr. Osleidy Camejo, a surgeon in the nation’s capital, Caracas, referring to the toll from Venezuela’s collapsing hospitals.

The economic crisis in this country has exploded into a public health emergency, claiming the lives of untold numbers of Venezuelans. It is just part of a larger unraveling here that has become so severe it has prompted President Nicolás Maduro to impose a state of emergency and has raised fears of a government collapse.

Hospital wards have become crucibles where the forces tearing Venezuela apart have converged. Gloves and soap have vanished from some hospitals. Often, cancer medicines are found only on the black market. There is so little electricity that the government works only two days a week to save what energy is left.

At the University of the Andes Hospital in the mountain city of Mérida, there was not enough water to wash blood from the operating table. Doctors preparing for surgery cleaned their hands with bottles of seltzer water.

“It is like something from the 19th century,” said Dr. Christian Pino, a surgeon at the hospital.

The figures are devastating. The rate of death among babies under a month old increased more than a hundredfold in public hospitals run by the Health Ministry, to just over 2 percent in 2015 from 0.02 percent in 2012, according to a government report provided by lawmakers.

The rate of death among new mothers in those hospitals increased by almost five times in the same period, according to the report.

Here in the Caribbean port town of Barcelona, two premature infants died recently on the way to the main public clinic because the ambulance had no oxygen tanks. The hospital has no fully functioning X-ray or kidney dialysis machines because they broke long ago. And because there are no open beds, some patients lie on the floor in pools of their blood.

It is a battlefield clinic in a country where there is no war.

“Some come here healthy, and they leave dead,” Dr. Leandro Pérez said, standing in the emergency room of Luis Razetti Hospital, which serves the town.

This nation has the largest oil reserves in the world, yet the government saved little money for hard times when oil prices were high. Now that prices have collapsed — they are around a third what they were in 2014 — the consequences are casting a destructive shadow across the country. Lines for food, long a feature of life in Venezuela, now erupt into looting. The bolívar, the country’s currency, is nearly worthless.

The crisis is aggravated by a political feud between Venezuela’s leftists, who control the presidency, and their rivals in congress. The president’s opponents declared a humanitarian crisis in January, and this month passed a law that would allow Venezuela to accept international aid to prop up the health care system.

“This is criminal that we can sit in a country with this much oil, and people are dying for lack of antibiotics,” says Oneida Guaipe, a lawmaker and former hospital union leader.

But Mr. Maduro, who succeeded Hugo Chávez, went on television and rejected the effort, describing the move as a bid to undermine him and privatize the hospital system.

“I doubt that anywhere in the world, except in Cuba, there exists a better health system than this one,” Mr. Maduro said.

Late last fall, the aging pumps that supplied water to the University of the Andes Hospital exploded. They were not repaired for months.

So without water, gloves, soap or antibiotics, a group of surgeons prepared to remove an appendix that was about to burst, even though the operating room was still covered in another patient’s blood.

Even in the capital, only two of nine operating rooms are functioning at the J. M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital.

“There are people dying for lack of medicine, children dying of malnutrition and others dying because there are no medical personnel,” said Dr. Yamila Battaglini, a surgeon at the hospital.

Yet even among Venezuela’s failing hospitals, Luis Razetti Hospital in Barcelona has become one of the most notorious.

In April, the authorities arrested its director, Aquiles Martínez, and removed him from his post. Local news reports said he was accused of stealing equipment meant for the hospital, including machines to treat people with respiratory illnesses, as well as intravenous solutions and 127 boxes of medicine.

Around 10 one recent night, Dr. Freddy Díaz walked down a hall there that had become an impromptu ward for patients who had no beds. Some clutched blood-soaked bandages and called from the floor for help. One, brought in by the police, was handcuffed to a gurney. In a supply room, cockroaches fled as the door swung open.

Dr. Díaz logged a patient’s medical data on the back of a bank statement someone had thrown in the trash.

We have run out of paper here,” he said.

On the fourth floor, one of his patients, Rosa Parucho, 68, was one of the few who had managed to get a bed, though the rotting mattress had left her back covered in sores.

But those were the least of her problems: Ms. Parucho, a diabetic, was unable to receive kidney dialysis because the machines were broken. An infection had spread to her feet, which were black that night. She was going into septic shock.

Ms. Parucho needed oxygen, but none was available. Her hands twitched and her eyes rolled into the back of her head.

“The bacteria aren’t dying; they’re growing,” Dr. Díaz said, noting that three of the antibiotics Ms. Parucho needed had been unavailable for months.

He paused. “We will have to remove her feet.”

Three relatives sat reading the Old Testament before an unconscious woman. She had arrived six days before, but because a scanning machine had broken, it was days before anyone discovered the tumor occupying a quarter of her frontal lobe.

Samuel Castillo, 21, arrived in the emergency room needing blood. But supplies had run out. A holiday had been declared by the government to save electricity, and the blood bank took donations only on workdays. Mr. Castillo died that night.

For the past two and a half months, the hospital has not had a way to print X-rays. So patients must use a smartphone to take a picture of their scans and take them to the proper doctor.

“It looks like tuberculosis,” said an emergency room doctor looking at the scan of a lung on a cellphone. “But I can’t tell. The quality is bad.”

Finding medicine is perhaps the hardest challenge.

The pharmacy here has bare shelves because of a shortage of imports, which the government can no longer afford. When patients need treatment, the doctors hand relatives a list of medicines, solutions and other items needed to stabilize the patients or to perform surgery. Loved ones are then sent back the way they came to find black-market sellers who have the goods.

The same applies to just about everything else one might need here.

“You must bring her diapers now,” a nurse told Alejandro Ruiz, whose mother had been taken to the emergency room.

“What else?” he asked, clutching large trash bags he had brought filled with blankets, sheets, pillows and toilet paper.

Nicolás Espinosa sat next to his tiny daughter, who has spent two of her five years with cancer. He was running out of money to pay for her intravenous solutions. Inflation had increased the price by 16 times what he paid a year ago.

He flipped through a list of medicines he was trying to find here in Barcelona and in a neighboring city. Some of the drugs are meant to protect the body during chemotherapy, yet the girl’s treatments ended when the oncology department ran out of the necessary drugs a month and a half ago.

Near him, a handwritten sign read, “We sell antibiotics — negotiable.” A black-market seller’s number was listed.

Biceña Pérez, 36, scanned the halls looking for anyone who would listen to her.

“Can someone help my father?” she asked.

Her father, José Calvo, 61, had contracted Chagas’ disease, a sickness caused by a parasite. But the medication Mr. Calvo had been prescribed ran out in his part of Venezuela that year, and he began to suffer heart failure.

Six hours after Ms. Pérez’s plea, a scream was heard in the emergency room. It was Mr. Calvo’s sister: “My darling, my darling,” she moaned. Mr. Calvo was dead.

His daughter paced the hall alone, not knowing what to do. Her hands covered her face, and then clenched into fists.

“Why did the director of this hospital steal that equipment?” was all she could say. “Tell me whose fault is this?”

The ninth floor of the hospital is the maternity ward, where the seven babies had died the day before. A room at the end of the hall was filled with broken incubators.

The glass on one was smashed. Red, yellow and blue wires dangled from another.

“Don’t use — nonfunctional,” said a sign dated last November.

Dr. Amalia Rodríguez stood in the hallway.

“I had a patient just now who needed artificial respiration, and I had none available,” Dr. Rodríguez said. “A baby. What can we do?”

The day of the power blackout, Dr. Rodríguez said, the hospital staff tried turning on the generator, but it did not work.

Doctors tried everything they could to keep the babies breathing, pumping air by hand until the employees were so exhausted they could barely see straight, she said. How many babies died because of the blackout was impossible to say, given all of the other deficiencies at the hospital.

“What can we do here?” Dr. Rodríguez said. “Every day I pass an incubator that doesn’t heat up, that is cold, that is broken.”

Last edited by grundle; 08-17-17 at 02:24 AM.
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Old 08-14-17, 09:30 PM   #139
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Supermallet

Since you think my interpretation of this article is wrong, please tell me what the bolded parts really mean.


https://web.archive.org/web/20110612...rrest_Butchers

Hugo Chavez's Response to Beef Shortage: Arrest Butchers

May 7, 2010

It's getting harder to put meat on the table in Venezuela and the government of President Hugo Chavez is blaming the butchers.

At least 40 butchers were detained last week on charges of speculation for allegedly driving up their prices. Some say they were held at a military base and were later strip searched when turned over to police.

Cold cases are empty—or display only chicken—at many of Caracas' butcher shops. Chain supermarkets and crowded municipal markets often offer cuts, but only in small quantities.

Butchers and wholesalers say they have the same problem facing many other industries: government price controls have eliminated profit margins. The recent arrests have prompted some to stop selling beef altogether for fear of ending up behind bars—adding to the scarcity.

"We've been working all our lives here and we've never been through this before, where they take you away, strip you, take off everything down to your underwear and then put you in a cell," said butcher Omar Cedeno, who was held for two days before being released last week.

He said officials of the consumer protection agency arrived at his Caracas shop with military police, and after citing him for selling beef above the regulated price one official asked him to follow them to "have a chat."

Cedeno was taken away in a truck with soldiers to Fort Tiuna, where he was held along with seven other butchers. They were taken the next day to a courthouse cell, where they were strip-searched, he said.

At least 32 other butchers were also charged last week. If convicted, they could face two to six years in prison.


The government says butchers can charge 17 bolivars—about $4—for a kilogram of beef. Butchers say they have to pay 14 bolivars—about $3 —for the meat leaving them no margin to cover the other costs of their business.

Some had been charging 24 to 40 bolivars a kilo, depending on the cut, until last week's raids stopped them from selling any beef at all.

Chavez's socialist government has imposed price controls on many basic foods to combat "savage capitalism" and it blames shortages on growing demand due to rising incomes of the poor.

Cattle ranchers, though, say supplies have suffered because price controls and other government policies have kept prices unchanged since 2008 even as inflation—the highest in Latin America—has sent their costs skyrocketing.

Venezuela was self-sufficient in beef in 2003, but it imported 52 percent of what it consumed last year, according to the national cattle ranchers' association.

Despite rising demand, the ranchers are raising fewer cattle. The association said the country had 12 million head this year, down from 13.5 million in 1998.

"The only one that has the magic wand, that has the ability to unblock this situation is the government," said Manuel Cipriano Heredia, the association's president. He urged the government to meet with producers to find a solution to the crisis.

Venezuela, which relies largely on its oil industry, has long imported much of its food. And in order to cope with a growing scarcity of various foods from sugar to grains, the government has increased the amount of dollars provided at the official exchange rate for food imports to more than $4 billion a year.

Government officials recently announced they would approve more dollars for beef imports and increase purchases of Brazilian beef to 50,000 head of cattle a month, up from 30,000.

Authorities have also expropriated a slaughterhouse in north-central Aragua state, and stepped up their inspections of butcher shops and slaughterhouses to try to clamp down on prices.
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Old 08-14-17, 09:34 PM   #140
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

I had a reply to some of your points typed up and my browser crashed. I have family visiting this week and cannot spend a ton of time replying in depth as I would like to.

Let me propose this, grundle. I know you like to research. Go to the Communism 101 subreddit, read the FAQ there and some of the more popular threads. Next week I can resume detailed discussion.
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Old 08-14-17, 09:35 PM   #141
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Your comment implies that only capitalism allows for freedom of speech and all the rest, which is not only untrue, it's hilariously false propaganda.
Please name one country that does not have capitalist, corporate owned, for-profit newspapers, but where there are newspapers that freely and regularly criticize the country's political leaders.
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Old 08-14-17, 09:43 PM   #142
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Marxists make a distinction between personal property (my record collection) and private property (my factory that produces records).
If there are no private factories that produce records, then where did the records in your private collection come from?

I'm curious to hear your answer to that question.

Here's my answer:

I'll tell you where the records in your private collection came from. They were illegally smuggled across the border, from a country that does have privately owned factories that produce records.

But you think I'm wrong. So please tell me: If there are no private factories that produce records, then where did the records in your private collection come from?
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Old 08-14-17, 09:46 PM   #143
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re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
I had a reply to some of your points typed up and my browser crashed. I have family visiting this week and cannot spend a ton of time replying in depth as I would like to.

Let me propose this, grundle. I know you like to research. Go to the Communism 101 subreddit, read the FAQ there and some of the more popular threads. Next week I can resume detailed discussion.

I hate it when browsers crash.

I understand that you will be busy.

Since I am curious to hear your own explanation, in your own words, of what those articles mean, I will wait until you have the time to explain.
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Old 08-14-17, 10:38 PM   #144
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Re: Venezuela Protests of 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
Wait. So when Fleetwood Mac wrote and recorded Rumors, who should have been paid, and what amount?
Choose among:

Those who wrote the songs
Those who played the music and sang
Those who manned the recording equipment
Those who owned the recording equipment
Those who purchased the time in the studio to record the album
Those who supplied food to the artists and technicians each day
Those who cleaned us at then end of the recording day

Should they all be paid the same? If so, why? If not, why not?


When their music is banned, you don't have to worry about how much to pay them.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/wo...vana.html?_r=1

Where Cubans Can Meet the Beatles at Last

August 7, 2011

HAVANA — The hair and accents were wrong, but the audience cared about just one thing: the house band was singing the Beatles, here, in a new bar called the Yellow Submarine, in Cuba, where such an act might have led to arrests in the mid-1960s.

Better yet, perhaps because of that history, the band played like rebels. Fast and raw, they zipped up and down the bass lines of “Dear Prudence” as if the song were new. They raced through “Rocky Raccoon,” and when they reached the opening words of “Let It Be” — “When I find myself in times of trouble” — the entire crowd began singing along, swaying, staring at the band or belting out the chorus with their eyes closed in rapture.

“If there’s no Beatles, there’s no rock ’n’ roll,” said Guille Vilar, a co-creator of the bar. “This is music created with authenticity.”

Maybe so, but Cuba’s revolutionaries were not sure what to make of it when it first came out. Though today the bonds between counterculture rock and leftist politics are well established, back then, Cuban authorities — at least some of them — saw anything in English as American and practically treasonous. The Beatles, along with long hair, bell-bottom jeans and homosexuality, were all seen as cause for alarm or arrest at a time when green fatigues were a statement of great importance.

Cuba in the ’60s and early ’70s, says Mr. Vilar, a trained musicologist, “was a very serious place.”

Indeed, many Cubans still recall having to sneak a listen to whatever Beatles album they could find in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis and the American trade embargo. Festivals like Woodstock and even smaller rock concerts hardly ever occurred — all of which helps explain the appeal of the Yellow Submarine.

Scarcity, as diamond dealers well know, is the genesis of value, and in Cuba, rock music is a rare cultural gem in its own right. But the Yellow Submarine, with its pealing guitars, porthole windows, blue and yellow interior, and Beatles’ lyrics on the walls? The full experience amounts to a short, direct road out of the norm.

Cuba, after all, is still a country of limited media. Just a few channels can be found on television. The Internet runs on dial-up. And while music is seemingly everywhere, including clubs and bars, most of it falls within a narrow spectrum between trova ballads and rump-shaking reggaetón.

“This place — it’s different,” said Alexander Peña, a student from outside Havana, sitting by the bar with three of his friends.

Nonetheless, it is still quite Cuban. The Culture Ministry owns and operates the club, which opened in March. That means a cheap cover charge ($2.50), Beatles imagery without official licensing and waiters in the usual black vests, with the usual requirement of at least three reminders before any drinks are actually delivered.

Mr. Vilar, who was an adviser on the project, said the government was trying to do the right thing — to reopen closed spaces and broaden Havana’s nightlife. The crowd seemed mostly pleased. And yet this was clearly no typical bunch of rum drinkers.

On a recent Saturday, the line of dozens snaking to the corner looked like it was heading to a college graduation. Only two groups seemed to be represented: baby boomers (wearing nice dresses and slacks) and twentysomething hipsters (in jeans and tight T-shirts). In a few cases, they had arrived together — mothers and daughters included — and each generation had its own reason for coming.

Older fans said the Yellow Submarine let them enjoy a moment that they should have experienced decades ago. “You don’t understand,” Marisa Valdes, 50, said as she danced with her husband, after taking pictures with wood cutouts of John, Paul, George and Ringo. “This music, it used to be banned!”

For the young, however, the Yellow Submarine offered the opposite — something new. For a few, the bar’s existence even suggested the island’s old government was learning some new tricks. “Maybe it shows that things in Cuba are changing,” Mr. Peña said.

But seriously, forget the seriousness for a moment. Inside, with the music playing loud, such thoughts were rare. Fun is one of the few luxuries that Cubans have held on to over the years, and whether it is salsa or rock, dancing is almost always included. So when the band kicked up again, belting out “How could I dance with another when I saw her standing there,” it took no urging to get people out of their seats.

Ms. Valdes in particular seemed pleased when a young couple jumped up and began to do the twist. He was tall, thin, with a beard and rubbery legs; she had tight, bouncy curls and a white dress that looked remarkably like the one worn by Ms. Valdes. The older woman just nodded as the young one shimmied. In music and style, in Havana now and of the past, the two were one.
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Old 08-14-17, 10:52 PM   #145
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Re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

This is my last post until others post in this thread. Here's a great article about the incompatibility between Marxism and rock music. I'm only posting a little bit of it, but this little bit should be quite an eye opener to anyone who thinks Marxism is a good idea.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_m...l_of_communism

Rock music and the fall of communism

... the lack of instruments was a serious impediment to the formation of rock bands. Soviet youths had to improvise. They did so by creating their own guitars by sawing old tables into the shape of a guitar. Creating pickups and amps was a problem until an inspired young electrical engineer discovered that they could be created from phone receivers and loudspeakers, respectively. The only readily available sources for these items were public telephone booths and speakers used for propaganda broadcasts, so young rockers would vandalize both for parts.
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Old 08-14-17, 11:00 PM   #146
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Re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

But Supermallet...answer this wall of questions. What's taking so long?

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Old 08-14-17, 11:01 PM   #147
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Re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Aww...Supermallet is adorable!
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Old 08-14-17, 11:32 PM   #148
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Re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

By the way, let me tell you the reason why I detest socialism: the fact me and my mother knew many people who escaped to Hong Kong during the height of the Great Leap Forward (大跃进) and Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (无产阶级文化大革命) in Communist China.

It's only now that we're starting to figure out the death toll: maybe as high as 48 million according to the better scholarly estimates. Given the enormous economic destruction during the Great Leap Forward and the destruction of China's rich heritage during the Cultural Revolution, that's what top-down socialism--essentially a dictatorship--did to that country. Much of the horror stories I heard from those escapees are shocking, to say the least.

And I had personal experience as a small child of what happened when Communist sympathizers went on a rampage during this event, the 1967 Hong Kong Riots:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_K..._leftist_riots

I remember clearly the street demonstrations, beatings, and even bombings. It took a concerted effort by the British Army to stop most of the rioting. And to think People's Liberation Army General Huang Yongsheng--who headed the PLA Guangzhou Region next to Hong Kong at the time--actually suggested the idea of invading the then-British colony that year, only to be turned down by Zhou En-lai (that invasion could have triggered off World War III).

Sadly, the late Hugo Chavez and now Nicholas Maduro are doing exactly the same thing to Venezuela. Their previously prosperous oil industry has ground to a near-standstill, the dependence of electricity from essentially one major dam has destroyed the electrical grid, and basic necessities of life are barely available. No wonder why hoards of Venezuelans are crossing the border to Colombia and Brazil just to get these basic necessities. That country is literally dying, and they are likely experiencing a famine that could end up claiming millions of Venezuelan lives.
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Old 08-15-17, 12:13 AM   #149
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Re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
But Supermallet...answer this wall of questions. What's taking so long?
It's been more than a year since Supermallet said my interpretation of the articles was wrong, and since I asked him to tell me what the articles really mean. I can wait a few more weeks.

Supermallet is a smart person. I think that if he seriously reads those articles and tries to figure out what they really mean, he will come to the conclusion that the real world results of Marxism have nothing to do with the intent that Marxists claim to have for supporting it in the first place. When real world evidence contradicts a theory, a smart person will realize that the theory is wrong.

Last edited by grundle; 08-15-17 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 08-15-17, 12:23 AM   #150
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Re: The Venezuela / Socialism Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayChuang View Post
By the way, let me tell you the reason why I detest socialism: the fact me and my mother knew many people who escaped to Hong Kong during the height of the Great Leap Forward (大跃进) and Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (无产阶级文化大革命) in Communist China.

It's only now that we're starting to figure out the death toll: maybe as high as 48 million according to the better scholarly estimates. Given the enormous economic destruction during the Great Leap Forward and the destruction of China's rich heritage during the Cultural Revolution, that's what top-down socialism--essentially a dictatorship--did to that country. Much of the horror stories I heard from those escapees are shocking, to say the least.

And I had personal experience as a small child of what happened when Communist sympathizers went on a rampage during this event, the 1967 Hong Kong Riots:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_K..._leftist_riots

I remember clearly the street demonstrations, beatings, and even bombings. It took a concerted effort by the British Army to stop most of the rioting. And to think People's Liberation Army General Huang Yongsheng--who headed the PLA Guangzhou Region next to Hong Kong at the time--actually suggested the idea of invading the then-British colony that year, only to be turned down by Zhou En-lai (that invasion could have triggered off World War III).

Sadly, the late Hugo Chavez and now Nicholas Maduro are doing exactly the same thing to Venezuela. Their previously prosperous oil industry has ground to a near-standstill, the dependence of electricity from essentially one major dam has destroyed the electrical grid, and basic necessities of life are barely available. No wonder why hoards of Venezuelans are crossing the border to Colombia and Brazil just to get these basic necessities. That country is literally dying, and they are likely experiencing a famine that could end up claiming millions of Venezuelan lives.

That was an excellent, powerful, and emotionally moving post.
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